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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (5 September) . . Page.. 3168 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

I am tabling, for the information of members, the workforce statistical reports for the first and third quarters of the 1995-96 financial year. Members should note that these reports are different from previous reports, as they are based on the program structure that came into effect in July 1995. Fewer details are included for ACTEW and Totalcare, which are now separated from the other agencies due to their status as Territory-owned corporations. The numbers show a fall of 143 employees, from 20,690 at June 1995 to 20,547 at October 1995, and a further fall of 470 to 20,077 at April 1996.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (3.27): Mr Speaker, I present the terms of reference for the Community Law Reform Committee's inquiry into surrogacy. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

I apologise for the short notice. Essentially, what the Government is seeking to do is to refer the issue of non-commercial or altruistic surrogacy to the Community Law Reform Committee. Members will recall that there is a motion on the notice paper from Ms Follett, which was listed yesterday under private members business, to refer to the Community Law Reform Committee the legislation presented to the Assembly last week by the Chief Minister. It is my view that the issue ought to be referred to the Community Law Reform Committee, and I believe that that represents the view of most, if not all, on the floor of the house. I have taken the view, therefore, that that reference should be made immediately, rather than waiting until the Assembly resumes at the end of this month.

The terms of reference cover not only the Bill Mrs Carnell has presented in this place but also the general issue of the two pieces of legislation that provide for the operation of surrogacy in the ACT. I hope there will be agreement on the floor that this reference is appropriate and that the reference can assist the Assembly ultimately to form a view on the appropriate long-term direction for surrogacy legislation.

The difference between what I have tabled today and what Ms Follett is suggesting is that this reference is proceeding independently of any process of dealing with this matter on the floor of the Assembly, that is, the Bill that is presently before the Assembly. It is, of course, open to the Assembly, when it resumes sitting later this month or perhaps at some later point, either to pass or to reject the legislation presently on the table.

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