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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 10 Hansard (5 September) . . Page.. 3184 ..

Suspension of Standing Orders

Motion (by Mr Humphries) proposed:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent the order of the day, Executive business, relating to the Trading Hours (Amendment) Bill 1996 being called on forthwith.

MR MOORE (4.28): I think it is an appalling situation that a Minister should stand here and introduce a Bill this morning and then suspend standing orders to bring it back on this afternoon. It reflects the appalling manner in which this whole issue has been handled. It is a half-baked piece of legislation. It was a half-baked idea in the first place. To suspend standing orders now is also a half-baked idea. This issue is not even on our daily program. The most we see on the daily program is notice No. 2, which reads:

Trading Hours (Amendment) Bill 1996 - Mr Humphries ... to present Bill. Agreement in principle to be moved. Debate to be adjourned.

That was done. Mr Humphries now comes back into the Assembly, less than four sitting hours after introducing that Bill, and says to us that he wants to suspend standing orders in order for us to consider the Bill. He is likely to add, "It is not such a big problem, because after all we are only removing a couple of words. We are only going to remove `to the public' from a couple of sections". We need to be sure that removing those words is done consistently throughout the legislation; that the original legislation will have the impact that Mr Humphries wants and not have broader impacts. Those matters need to be considered.

This Government went to the last election saying that they were going to consult widely. Great consultation! We have had four sitting hours. To be fair to Mr Humphries, he gave us a draft version of this Bill yesterday. The Minister says that the Bill is just about three words, but we find that there is a change. We have, for the first time that I can recall, a commencement clause that says:

This Act commences, or shall be taken to have commenced, on 9 September 1996.

I have not seen that in any other piece of legislation.

Mr Humphries: I hope not.

MR MOORE: I have not seen that style of commencement provision in any other legislation at all. Mr Humphries comments, "I hope not". I presume that refers to the fact that it is a specific date. We are being asked to suspend the standing orders in order to consider this. I consider that a most inappropriate way to deal with things.

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