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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1954 ..

MR DE (continuing):

our responsibilities, and I get frustrated because we are well aware of what our responsibilities are. Although I welcome you reminding us from time to time, we try to take the responsible angle all the way through and we will continue to be as responsible as we can be on this side of the house.

Can I also say that sometimes being responsible means disagreeing vehemently with some of the things you and your party have to say from time to time. We will disagree when we need to disagree; but, hopefully, we can disagree pleasantly as well, although it might seem to you to be a bit unpleasant. I can assure you, Ms Tucker, that when I am very unpleasant you will know about it. I am getting to the stage where I am tempted to be unpleasant - politically, that is - but I will not be, because I do not think that is fair to anyone at this stage. So, frustrated is more what I feel, especially about this issue.

Ms Tucker, members of your party and others have had about five years to get yourselves around the issue of competition policy, because that is how long it has been out there in the public domain. You need some more time. That is fine. I disagree with the time you need; but I can also count and, if the Assembly thinks February or March might be a good time, whilst I am not too enamoured of that I am not going to die in a ditch over a month or so. It is just a pity that the ACT cannot be leading the way on issues such as this, seeing that we seem to have bipartisan support, instead of being last because some of us need to have this warm inner glow with our concern about efficiencies and inefficiencies. I am not going to get involved in definitions of words or aspects, except to say that reality tells me that template legislation is template legislation. But I might be accused of being unpleasant because I happen to believe in reality.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (3.54): As Mr De Domenico said, we will be supporting this referral to the committee; but I am not quite sure why, I have to admit. Ms Follett said that this was template legislation and she indicated that it would be passed by this Assembly in its current form. If it is not passed in its current form, the ACT will have significant difficulties. Apart from not sharing in the substantial amounts of money that have been made available through the agreement to implement the national competition policy and related reforms that were agreed to at COAG, it would also mean that the ACT would no longer be regarded as a participating jurisdiction under the CPRA and the Commonwealth would reapply it to the ACT under section 6 of the TPA. This would mean that the ACT's coverage would be completely within the Commonwealth's jurisdiction. In other words, it would end up meaning that the Commonwealth had total control over the ACT in this area, so any control this Assembly had would go straight out the window.

If what we are doing here is putting it all off for a few months before we pass this template legislation, if that is what the Assembly wants to do, so be it. But we must pass this template legislation if we are to continue to have control over our own destiny in this area, and I, for one, believe strongly that we should. What we are doing here is voting to refer this Bill to a committee so that the ACT can be last again.

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