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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1953 ..

MS FOLLETT (continuing):

But there are potential losers in all of these reforms, and I think we, as a parliament, have a duty to point out some of the equity concerns that can be an issue in competition policy. So I support the inquiry being undertaken by a select committee. If the committee does no more than delineate what these issues are and perhaps attempts to delineate what might be the desirable outcomes as we see them, that will be a very worthwhile addition to the debate on competition policy. It is an aspect of that debate that I do not believe has been adequately covered so far.

Most of the negotiation around the appointment of a committee was around the reporting date for the committee. I understand the Government's wish to get on with their legislation, because it is template legislation; it will be the same right around Australia. You might say that it is not very controversial and we should just get on with it, and I understand that point of view. However, once the legislation is passed, the opportunity for this kind of scrutiny is probably past as well. So I believe that it is important that we conduct the scrutiny before we get into the detail stage of this debate. We have negotiated on the date for reporting by the select committee. I realise that it is probably a bit later than the Government would like and a bit earlier than the movers would like, but I think it is a reasonable compromise position. It does allow the committee at least some time to consult and to consider the issues before it. It also means that the Government can get its legislation through within the timeframe of the national reform initiatives.

As I said, we support the motion. I am very pleased that there appears to be bipartisan support for it, or multipartisan support, I should say, and I look forward very much to working on the committee. I also look forward, and I am sure that I can be confident in this, to getting a degree of cooperation from the Government and from the Government's advisers on this matter. Clearly, there are some technical issues on which we, as a committee, will need to seek advice, and I hope that it will not be a problem for the Government's advisers to come up with the information we may require in the time that is now envisaged in the motion. I think it is a good motion. I do not care whether it is part of a national scheme by the Greens. I do not think that rules it out at all. It is still a motion that is worthy of being treated on its merits by this particular parliament, and the Opposition will be supporting it on that basis.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Business, Employment and Tourism) (3.51): The Government will also be supporting the motion. Ms Follett is right; the Government would have preferred this to go ahead and to get the job done. As Ms Follett said, it is template legislation. It is going to be introduced by every other jurisdiction, and it seems that the ACT is going to be lagging behind. Ms Tucker said that efficiency is not always good. In my view, Ms Tucker, efficiency is always good in comparison to inefficiency. I think all of us will agree that if you can be efficient it is better than being inefficient.

Can I say, Ms Tucker, that, if you thought I was unpleasant, I apologise. I did not mean to be unpleasant. I do not think I am ever unpleasant, actually. I am frustrated, though, Ms Tucker. I sit back here and listen to some of the things you and your colleagues say from time to time in an attempt to lecture members of this Assembly about

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