Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1482 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (4.01): I might just explain what it is that we are proposing here. We realise that there is an idea on the table, presented in the form of the paper which the Chief Minister has just tabled. We are not asking the Assembly, in noting the paper today, to agree in any way to its contents. As a matter of courtesy in this place, when someone presents a paper and they move to have the paper noted, it is usually passed simply as an acknowledgment of - - -
Ms Tucker: The standing order says it can be referred to a committee as well.
MR HUMPHRIES: I did not interrupt you, Ms Tucker, and I ask you to extend the same courtesy. We are not saying that you should - - -
Ms Tucker: I do not interject often but I will today. You do it when you want to.
MR HUMPHRIES: Okay. Fine, Ms Tucker. Mr Speaker, all we are asking members to do today is to note that the Chief Minister has brought this proposal down. It is there on the table. The Chief Minister need not have moved that the Assembly takes note of the paper. She could have just presented it, given her speech and sat down again, but she has not done that. Members, I think, have been offered a chance to be briefed on what the proposal actually entails in the next few days.
The Chief Minister has also said that next week she will bring a motion forward to propose some course of action that follows on from what is in the paper. That is the juncture at which, with respect, members ought to decide what they want to do with this idea. If, because of the briefings or otherwise, they happen to like the idea and think it is a good idea to go ahead with it straightaway, they could pass a motion then and there. If they are not sure about the idea or do not like it at all, they could have it referred, as has been suggested, to the Chief Minister's Committee. At that point that course of action could be followed and consideration could be given to it.
All that the Chief Minister is saying today is: "Please just look at the report". It may not be necessary to refer it to the Chief Minister's Committee, given what is in it and what is available by way of a briefing. The problem with referring the matter now to the Chief Minister's Committee is that it probably locks us into a timeframe of consideration in late September rather than earlier. That is the problem with this. The chair of the committee, Mr Quinlan, has indicated across the floor that he does not believe it could be dealt with by next week. Maybe it could be, but he does not think it could necessarily be dealt with by next week. I am only relying on what the chair of the committee is telling me across the chamber. All we are suggesting is that we do what we normally do for 99 per cent of the papers in this place - simply note it at this stage, and, if you want to refer it to the Chief Minister's Committee, do it later. Do not do it right now. We are not asking you to do anything other than note that the Chief Minister has presented this report. That is all we are asking the Assembly to do.