Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 1007 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
If you go further down the subsection and look at paragraph (e) of the circumstances in which the restriction does not apply, it refers to "such other matters as are relevant". Well, what is going to happen? Remember that you want the cap to apply; I want the cap to apply. Somebody comes in and says, "I want to apply". The commissioner says, "No". So, what is the first thing that happens? Remember that you are trying to get a cap. The commissioner says, "No". So, then what happens? Is it an administrative decision entitled to a review in the AAT, which is, of course, a normal thing? How is a review by the AAT going to be conducted when they are talking about "such other matters as are relevant" and this totally nonsensical sentence? I believe it is not going to work. Another small factor, because of the fact that we have been sitting for so long, is that it has now become retrospective. It says, "24 June". It is now 25 June. It is a minor thing; it is amusing. But I do note that that is now the case. It is not hard for us to change "24" to "25"; anybody can do that. But it does raise those issues, Mr Speaker.
I raised one by way of interjection earlier when Mr Rugendyke was talking about the extra 800 poker machines, or whatever it was. I said, "How many of those are associated with the Labor clubs, the ones that provide funds to the Labor Party?". We know that there is an expanding group of clubs with an expanding number of poker machines that are associated with the Labor Club. It is an important question; it is a question of community interest. It is a question that I have raised in this Assembly on many occasions before. Every time we debate these matters and Labor does not separate itself from the debate, I will raise it again; it is a matter of conflict of interest. As far as I am concerned, it is a matter of conflict of interest. Anybody I talk to in the community, with the exception of people who are Labor Party members - some of whom disagree with me - agrees. I do not mean members of the Assembly; I mean members of the party. The vast majority of people, whenever this issue is raised, say, "Of course it is a clear conflict of interest"; and indeed it is.
Mr Speaker, it seems to me that to ram this through, to crunch this through with the numbers today, within a period of less than 24 hours, is the antithesis of everything that we have been doing in terms of processes in this place. It is entirely inappropriate. It is not a good piece of legislation. It is not well drafted. There are question marks over it. You ought to rethink whether you are going to push it through today. What is the downside if you do not put it through? I think that is a reasonable question. I guess it will be the same as if we had not started this inquiry. I ask all of you: Would it have mattered if we had not started this inquiry now? We had this debate in the last Assembly; should we have an inquiry, or should we not have an inquiry? It was on the books and has been effectively on the books for discussion now, as my recollection serves me, for about a year, formally, from the time motions were actually formally put on the notice paper. It simply would not change the position very much if we had the extra time to look at this legislation and to go to the community and consult on it and see whether we can get a decent piece of legislation. I think it is entirely inappropriate to ram it through tonight, and particularly inappropriate for the Labor Party, which has a conflict of interest.