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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 1864 ..

MR CONNOLLY (continuing):

The Scrutiny of Bills Committee has taken the view - I am sure that the view is correct within the terms of reference of the committee - that its role is to look at Bills, not amendments. That makes sense. We would not want to endlessly hold up the legislative process by insisting that every time an amendment is tabled the Scrutiny of Bills Committee is called back again. However, it is somewhat unfortunate if that committee is precluded from considering an important raft of amendments.

It would have been a much better course of action to have delayed this Bill a day. As it turned out, it was delayed a month. If the Bill had been delayed a day and introduced as one law, that would have allowed the Scrutiny of Bills Committee to look at the whole raft. I am not suggesting any improper motive here; but a government could, in effect, exclude the Scrutiny of Bills Committee from looking at quite important aspects of a Bill by the simple ruse of introducing a Bill and introducing a raft of amendments on the same day.

Mr Humphries: I do not think the committee is stupid.

MR CONNOLLY: Anything is possible with this Government, I suppose. It is unfortunate that that occurred. It would have been much better had this raft of amendments, which was circulated when the Bill was circulated, been put in the original Bill.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for Consumer Affairs) (12.17): Mr Speaker, to respond, I think that is a very weak point. Mr Whitecross should have been here to make it himself. Perhaps he would have made it more clear. The Government did not put the amendments in the form of the amendments because we wanted to fool or to bypass the Scrutiny of Bills Committee. We did it because the legislation was drafted with some degree of speed.

Mr Berry: Ha! Undue haste.

MR HUMPHRIES: We made that clear from the outset. Mr Berry laughs. We made it clear from the outset that this was legislation designed to deal with a particular problem which was drawn to our attention by the concerns of franchisees in this Territory, and we worked quickly to bring the legislation forward. As it was going through the stages of being refined and prepared for introduction, it was discovered that there was a potential problem with respect to assignment of franchisee's interests; so the Government produced a response as quickly as it could. The amendments could not be incorporated into the legislation because of lack of time; so they were tabled with the legislation at the same time on the floor of the Assembly, clearly indicating to the Assembly that this was the legislation the Government wanted introduced - that is, the original legislation plus the amendments.

I think it is extraordinary that the Scrutiny of Bills Committee would feel some problem in considering amendments tabled at the same time as the legislation. I certainly did not expect it to consider amendments tabled subsequently to that, or even amendments tabled by somebody other than the Minister introducing the Bill; but surely the committee could deem amendments tabled with the legislation to be part of the legislation. If Mr Connolly or Mr Whitecross thinks that we can somehow bypass the Scrutiny of Bills Committee by

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