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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2373 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

This provision applies to almost all inquiries by our committee. The only one without it - and it is something that we can come back to - is the one that Mr Humphries referred to us. For the rest of our inquiries we have the ability to report out of session. I think it is an appropriate way to deal with issues. This is something that was missed in this morning's motion.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Debate resumed from 20 June 1996, on motion by Mr De Domenico:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Whitecross: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Earlier in the day this house passed a motion to give the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment a reference in relation to retail policy measures, including the Government's proposals outlined in Striking a Balance, which has as its centrepiece - in fact, the first detailed policy item - trading hours legislation. Mr Speaker, I seek your ruling on whether it is proper for us to proceed with the debate on this Bill when the house has referred the matter to the Planning and Environment Committee for consideration.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, on the point of order: This matter was canvassed this morning when the motion was put forward by Ms Tucker. It was made perfectly clear in the course of that debate that members of the Planning and Environment Committee would expect that there would need to be some progress on the issues that the Government was pursuing with respect to the Striking a Balance report at the same time as the committee was inquiring into those issues. That was canvassed. It was the view of the Assembly that it should be possible to proceed with both simultaneously. The Assembly removed the prohibition in paragraph (3) of that motion this morning that prevented extensions to retail space in the town centres from proceeding while the inquiry was going on. There is no standing order or rule which opposes the consideration of a Bill in the Assembly while an inquiry is going on. It is entirely up to the Assembly how it deals with it. Of course, if Mr Whitecross's point is taken to heart, presumably the Assembly will oppose the Bill before the house tonight.

Mr Whitecross: Further to the point of order: Mr Humphries is right to say that this was canvassed in the debate earlier. It was canvassed by the Labor Party, which put the argument very strongly that the Government's proposals ought to be proceeded with and that this Assembly should take a position on the Trading Hours Bill today rather than referring the matter to the committee. That view, which was canvassed by me and others on my side of the house, was rejected by the majority. I think the clear intention of the motion is that the committee will consider the package announced by the Government, of which the Trading Hours Bill is an integral part.

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