Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (28 April) . . Page.. 78 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
In line with an agreement reached by the National Drug Strategy Committee Self-Administration Working Group, amendments to the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 will also be introduced to repeal the offence of self-administration of a prohibited substance. This will erase the fears among injecting drug users that they will be charged with a criminal offence, leading to unsafe injecting practices and a reluctance to call for assistance during heroin overdoses. We will also be introducing amendments to the Motor Traffic Act to improve safety on our roads, especially the safety of our younger drivers and motorcycle riders.
Mr Speaker, the Government's legislation program is smaller than in previous sessions because it is intended to be achievable within the short autumn sittings. The legislation listed will be introduced during the autumn sittings. I am sure all members would agree that good planning and open communication can greatly assist members in preparing for debate in this place. Indeed, the Review of the Governance of the Australian Capital Territory has recommended, at recommendation 16, that:
In order to facilitate orderly business, and in order to allow for good financial management of the Assembly, non-Executive members should normally be expected, as the Executive is expected, to give notice of the bills that they plan to bring forward in each quarter.
Mr Speaker, this is a very reasonable proposition, considering the resources required to adequately develop and debate legislation. The Government has set out its legislative plan for the forthcoming Assembly sittings. I look forward to the day when the Opposition and Independent members also contribute to the effective and efficient use of the resources of the Territory and the time of this Assembly by disclosing their legislative plans at the commencement of the sittings. Obviously, by taking on board this recommendation of the Pettit inquiry, it would be significantly easier for the legislative drafting people to plan their time. If this recommendation is taken up it will ensure that some of the frustrations I know that members of this place have in getting their Bills drafted on time will be alleviated. Mr Speaker, I commend the paper to the Assembly.
MR BERRY, by leave: Mr Speaker, I have a few comments to make about the legislative program. This is a process that has been in place in this Assembly for some time and it is welcome. I heard the words of the Chief Minister when she spoke of the Pettit report and the recommendation in relation to getting before this place legislative programs from private members and crossbenchers, the Labor Party and so on, and she said she looks forward to the day. That is an interesting prospect. I just wonder how the committee inquiring into this matter might deal with it. They might well say that the Opposition and the crossbenchers should have the same sort of bureaucratic resources available to them on a pro rata basis that would enable them to prepare these sorts of programs and stick to them. That strikes me as an interesting thing that has not yet been thought through. I will not try to pre-empt the Pettit inquiry report in relation to this matter; but it is a curious position for the Chief Minister to take, given the paucity of resources that are available, even to the well-funded crossbench members. They would not be able to deliver on this sort of recommendation.