Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 964 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
What I am trying to do is divide the question so that the legislation reflects the intention of Mr Corbell - to bring the matter before the Assembly. I do not have a problem with that; I cannot imagine the Government having a problem with that. It would always be the Government's intention to bring such a matter before the Assembly anyway; but let us not have this silly bit of mechanism in legislation. Mr Speaker, I request that when we vote on clause 4 it be divided in such a way that I will be able to vote against subsection (3B). I have an indication that another member will be moving an amendment to that effect, which strikes me as being a sensible way to operate as well.
MR CORBELL (9.58): I understand the concerns that have been raised by some members in relation to these clauses of the Bill. Mr Speaker, I would simply make the point that, whilst the Assembly at this stage does not believe that it is appropriate for a special majority, it does not necessarily mean that the Assembly in the future will decide otherwise or will not decide otherwise. For that very reason, I see no reason why these clauses cannot remain in the Bill; they are enabling clauses. If the Assembly chooses not to require a special majority, then they sit in the Bill; they do not operate; they have no effect; they have effect only if the standing orders are amended to require a special majority in relation to a vote on the Territory Owned Corporations Act and the clauses that are mentioned. That is not an unreasonable proposition. I can understand why members this evening may feel that they cannot support a special majority, but in the future this Assembly may decide otherwise. For that reason, I believe that there is no reason why these clauses cannot remain in the Bill.
I accept that members this evening may not be willing to support a special majority, but that does not mean that provision should not remain in the Bill for a special majority if the Assembly changes its mind. When it comes down to it, the sale of a Territory-owned corporation, unlike other pieces of legislation that are introduced in this place, is a one-off decision; you get to make the decision only once. Once something is sold, it is gone forever. For that reason, we assert that there is an argument for a special majority. If other members at this stage do not accept that, we understand; but we do not see why provision for that should not be retained in the Bill, even if it is not active - and I stress "not active" - until the Assembly itself makes a decision on whether or not a special majority should apply.
MS TUCKER (10.00): I spoke before and said that I was not supportive of the special majority. I think Mr Moore has made a sensible suggestion. If we can somehow divide the clause, I would be supportive of that move so that we could vote specifically on proposed subsections (5), (3A) and (3B).
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (10.01): While Mr Osborne is preparing the amendment to achieve this goal, let me say that it seems to me that there is another more fundamental issue that we ought to consider, and that is that you would have a situation whereby, effectively, standing orders were actually demanding that you get a special majority. In other words, you are disenfranchising some other members in this sort of case. That is the worst case scenario. But it is so easily undone. It is easily undone by a simple motion to suspend standing orders.