Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1208 ..
MS FOLLETT: My question is directed to Mr Humphries as Attorney-General. Mr Humphries, in your Liberal Party policy statement on justice and the courts for the 1995 ACT election you made the statement:
It is almost impossible to say with certainty what the law is in any one area, at any given time ...
I ask you, Minister: Was it because you were unaware of the law as passed by this Assembly that you actually broke that law as Attorney-General by failing to consult over the appointments to the ACT Tenancy Tribunal and the ACT Credit Tribunal?
MR HUMPHRIES: I assume that Ms Follett is referring to the appointment of magistrates as alternative members of the tribunals. I have not personally engaged myself in organising the letters that flow from the Statutory Appointments Act. I am well aware of the Act, of course. I supported its passage in this place a couple of years ago. I take it that my staff will always ensure that, if an appointment is required to be run past a committee pursuant to the Statutory Appointments Act, that will occur. If Ms Follett assures me that an appointment was made and the reference to the committee did not occur, then I will certainly take that up with my staff and my department and see whether there is something that needs to be remedied. Mr Speaker, as I understand it, it is the requirement of that Act that those things occur, and it is the Government's intention to comply with the Act, because we supported the Act.
Might I also say, Mr Speaker, that this Government goes one step further, however, and it consults - and in its previous incarnation in the time of the Alliance Government it also consulted - with the Opposition about appointments to government bodies, a courtesy which was never extended to those in the rest of the chamber when Ms Follett herself was leader of the government in this place on two occasions. I think we have a very good record of consultation with members about statutory appointments, and we will continue to uphold that record. If there has been a glitch here - and I will take Ms Follett's word for that fact - then it will be remedied.
MS FOLLETT: By way of supplementary question, Mr Speaker, I would seek to table a letter from Mr Humphries to me dated 1 March, which says in part:
Section 4 of the Statutory Appointments Act 1994 requires that I consult with the relevant standing committee of the Legislative Assembly prior to making such re-appointments. I regret that, inadvertently, the required consultation did not take place ...
Mr Humphries does not need to take my word for this matter. He wrote to me about it himself. I seek leave to table that.