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MR WHITECROSS: A range of matters were canvassed at the conference in Darwin. It was a quite informative conference in terms of the range of issues being considered by scrutiny committees around Australia, including the scrutiny of Bills and subordinate legislation dealing with human rights issues, Henry VIII provisions and other incursions on civil liberties and on the legislature’s role in the law-making process. I am happy to discuss any of those particular matters with people if they want further amplification of the report.
Discussion Paper No. 1, which deals with the desirability of uniform scrutiny principles and the general issues of scrutiny of national scheme legislation, has been adopted by scrutiny committees around Australia. As I understand it, it may be the first time that scrutiny committees from all parliaments have adopted the same discussion paper. I know that the Senate has already circulated its version of this discussion paper to a number of people around town.
The issues raised relate to the circumstance where Ministers agree in ministerial conferences on appropriate national scheme legislation to deal with issues. The consumer credit legislation we were dealing with earlier in the week is an example of this kind of thing. The interest in this matter relates to the fact that these national schemes tend to deal individual parliaments and individual scrutiny committees out of the process of considering how these issues weigh up against the legislative standards of individual parliaments. They are the issues which the discussion paper seeks to canvass.
An example of the issue is that the consent to entry provisions in the national consumer code are actually not quite as clear and as strong as the consent to entry provisions set down by this legislature in its legislation. While the consumer code requires consent to entry in writing, it does not require the person giving consent to confirm that they were told that they had the right to refuse consent and that they gave consent voluntarily and to state the time and date on which they gave consent. There are some issues which ought to be considered, but these concerns have to be balanced against the desirability of national scheme legislation. I commend the discussion paper to members for consideration. Mr Speaker, I seek leave to move a motion to take note of the papers.
MR WHITECROSS: I move:
That the Assembly takes note of the papers.
Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries) adjourned.