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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 938 ..

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, I have to take issue with the proposition just put by the Chief Minister, that only the Executive has the wisdom to create a body of the kind that is proposed here and that nowhere else in this place does such wisdom reside. That is not a proposition that any reasonable person could accept. I firmly believe that the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee is quite competent to deal with the issues that are inherent in the establishment of such a council. They would not do so without consulting the Chief Minister and her officers. They are quite competent to take that advice and translate it into recommendations to this place. Any other proposition I would have to reject out of hand.

MR OSBORNE (6.08): Just briefly, I will speak to Mr Kaine's amendment and also close the debate, Mr Speaker. I am pleased that all members will be supporting my motion on this issue, because I think it is an important one. I have been speaking about competition policy for 18 months now, and it has really only been since we have seen the impact within the milk industry that other people have seemed to want to jump on board. But I am pleased that steps have been taken to set up an independent body. So, I thank all the members for that, because I think what we have done this evening is very important. I do not think the issue that we have been arguing about for the last half an hour should be carrying as much weight as it is. Mrs Carnell has indicated that she will work with the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee.

Mr Berry: Oh; and you trust her, Ossie, all of a sudden?

MR OSBORNE: I trust her more than I trust you, Mr Berry. But that is not saying a lot. I would not take that as a rap, Kate.

What this amendment says, Mr Speaker, is that the Chief Minister will report back with a proposed model. So, it is not as if we are giving her an open chequebook to go and do as she likes. She still has to report back. If she has not consulted with the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee and we are not happy, there is still room within the Assembly to amend it. When I first raised this motion, I indicated to Mrs Carnell, when I was speaking to her, that I wanted to hear from her about whether she would set in train a motion. She has done that. This barking that has gone on for the last half an hour has been, I think, a bit of a waste of time. I understand what members are saying; but the Chief Minister has said in this place that she will work with the Chief Minister's Portfolio Committee. If she does not do that, that is going to be her problem later. As I said, it is a proposed model.

So, once again, I thank all members for supporting this motion. It is very important. I am pleased that people are finally realising the dangers with the competition policy issue. I hope that, in the future, this new body will be able to address some of the concerns that we have been talking about and that people here in the public gallery have been talking about. I thank members for their support.

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