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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2221 ..


Debate resumed from 27 August 1998, on motion by Ms Carnell:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR QUINLAN (5.14): Mr Speaker, this Bill is designed to strengthen technical aspects of the principal legislation and to bind the Executive to obligations under the Act, but does not seek to alter the purpose of the Act. It is housekeeping. It is supported by this side of the house. I might say that we do not believe that this Bill and the previous two items of legislation should rate a tick on the Michael Moore "I presented more legislation than you" scorecard.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (5.14): No, Mr Speaker, this is not my piece of legislation. It is the Chief Minister's piece of legislation. However, I must say that I am fiercely proud that the Administration (Interstate Agreements) Act was my piece of legislation. It is part of the process that I believe in, whether I am sitting on the crossbenches or whether I am sitting in this seat in the middle of the Government, and that is to ensure that the Government remains accountable to the Assembly. I think that is fundamental.

I am very pleased that these amendments and the foreshadowed amendments of the Chief Minister which are to be circulated improve the legislation. They are in the same vein as the Director of Public Prosecutions (Amendment) Bill that Mr Berry referred to before. It is about making sure that when the Government does something the Assembly is aware of it and the Assembly has the opportunity to review those things. It is a very important part, as far as I am concerned, of the work I started some years ago of ensuring that the Government, whatever government, remains accountable to the Assembly. I think we have to keep in mind that it is not just a case of whether this - - -

Mr Quinlan: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Is this relevant to the Bill at hand?

MR MOORE: It is relevant because that is exactly what the Administration (Interstate Agreements) Act is about. This amendment Bill is cleaning up. It is about ensuring that the Government can be held accountable by the Assembly. It is about ensuring that the Assembly understands what sorts of agreements Ministers are likely to make that may well be binding on them or may lead to legislation that comes before the Assembly. That is what it is about. I drew the comparison between this Bill and the amendment to the Director of Public Prosecutions Act. I could give other examples, but, in the interest of time and efficiency, Mr Speaker, I simply say I support these amendments.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (5.16), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank members for their support. I will bring on the amendments in a minute.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

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