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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 929 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the final point I want to make in this debate is in relation to legal advice. Earlier today, the Minister stood up in this debate and said, "We received this legal advice today" - not yesterday, when Mr Hargreaves asked him the question about legal advice, but today. He has kindly provided a copy of that advice, and it is stamped as having been received in his office on 24 June. Mr Speaker, I wonder about this advice, simply because this morning the Chief Minister, in a radio interview, said:

But there's also I think some fairly good advice - some fairly good legal advice - that we have, suggesting that under the Constitution, that is, capacity to free trade across borders ...

So, Mr Speaker, at 10 minutes past seven this morning, the Chief Minister indicated that the Government had legal advice. I did not think that Australia Post delivered that early. I did not think that there was someone in the Minister's office at 7 o'clock this morning stamping it "Received 24 June". Mr Speaker, I must say that I do cast aspersions on the fact that the Government claims that it got the advice only today, because the Chief Minister said at 7 o'clock this morning she had already got it.

Mr Speaker, what sort of confidence can the Assembly have in this Government when we continue to hear mealy-mouthed words and half-hearted attempts to proclaim their interest in protecting the milk industry? Mr Speaker, if the Government's current record is anything to go on, we must have serious concern. That is why the motion of Mr Osborne's should be supported this evening and why the amendment moved by Mr Hargreaves also should be supported.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer)(5.37): Mr Speaker, I appreciate that there is a lot of grandstanding going on here this evening, in part because there are people here whom people want to impress and because people have already committed themselves publicly to a particular position in so-called defence of the milk industry. But I think that a few things need to be put very squarely on the table in this debate. First of all, I want to quote from a press release which the Milk Authority of the ACT has put out today. I quote the last three paragraphs:

"The Authority has now received an application from National Foods for the marketing of processed milk and the Authority is currently considering that application.

"The Milk Authority has legal advice which makes it clear that failure to allow interstate players entry into the ACT market may have constitutional implications. Section 69 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act provides for the freedom of trade and commerce between the Territory and the States. This provision has the purpose of picking up Section 92 of the Constitution.

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