Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2243 ..
MR STANHOPE: I have not had a copy of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee report. It has just this second been tabled. I have not had it, nor have I had the benefit of the wisdom contained within it. It is very difficult for me to prepare myself and be in a position to debate those two pieces of legislation today, not having had the advantage of the scrutiny of Bills report. I will perhaps have to move to have debate on those two Bills adjourned, because I am just not in a position to actually comment intelligently on them.
I just wonder whether there is some other basis on which we might deal with the tabling of the scrutiny of Bills report. I feel that, particularly today, it will have a severe impact on the work of the Assembly.
MS TUCKER: I seek leave to make a statement as well.
MS TUCKER: I am also concerned, because I have just had a look particularly at the Domestic Violence Bill. I would certainly be supportive of what Mr Stanhope had to say about that. I would also like to raise concerns at this point about the timing of this presentation, because I think it is very important that we have an opportunity to look in detail at comments on legislation from the Scrutiny of Bills Committee before we are asked to vote.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement.
MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I take Mr Stanhope's point. The normal process has been that, when the Scrutiny of Bills Committee brings down a report out of sitting, they circulate it and that gives us time to consider it. I understand that this particular report has not been circulated. I thought it had been. That does mean that members will need time to look at it. I have just had a quick discussion with Mr Humphries, who concedes that that is an appropriate thing.
However, Mr Stanhope did mention the Health (Amendment) Bill. Page 12 of the report just tabled states that the committee has received responses to comments made concerning a range of matters, one of which was the Health (Amendment) Bill 1998. Report No. 5 of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee quite some time ago identified exactly what the problems were with the Health (Amendment) Bill. In fact, what I have done is prepare a set of amendments consistent with the Scrutiny of Bills Committee report, which I provided to your office perhaps yesterday and have now circulated to members.
I still hope that we can debate the Health (Amendment) Bill. That is the first thing. The second thing is that, in each of the cases you have mentioned, I think at the very least it would be entirely appropriate to debate the issues in principle, because the scrutiny of Bills issues are about detail in the Bill rather than about the principle. I would still be very keen to debate the Health (Amendment) Bill today - it is likely to come on this afternoon - because there are issues of health that we are dealing with that could be improved.