Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2247 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
I think there is a real concern that the perception created by a lack of progress in relation to the labelling of battery produced eggs indicates perhaps a lack of will or determination on the part of the Government to pursue the issue as vigorously as it might. Let us hope that that is not the reality. I accept the Minister's assurances that he has pursued this issue at his ministerial council meetings and that he will continue to do so.
The Labor Party is prepared to accept the extension by a year of the period for the introduction of labelling of eggs as proposed by the legislation, to give the Minister that much additional time in which to work to seek to convince his State and Territory colleagues that the ACT approach to the labelling of eggs is appropriate; that this Assembly, to the extent that it has represented the will and the desires of the people of the ACT, is not being all that radical or dramatic; and that there is a genuine concern within the Australian community about the methods used in egg production. It is a legitimate concern of the community, and the community has a right to know whether or not food being presented to it is prepared in a way that is not acceptable to them. That is a debate that we have had here. This Assembly has accepted the wisdom of that. It is for the Minister to continue to use all the avenues available to him to advance the debate and to continue to work to ensure that ACT produced eggs are labelled in a way that this Assembly and the people of the ACT desire.
The Labor Party will support the Bill. It is happy on this occasion to extend the Minister an additional opportunity to seek to implement the will of this Assembly, but it believes that the Minister must make genuine attempts, as I am sure he will, to advance the position of the Assembly.
MR HUMPHRIES (Acting Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (11.11): Mr Speaker, I want to put on the record some comments about this particular Bill in defence of Mr Moore's role in all of this. I thought Ms Tucker's comments were a little bit churlish as far as Mr Moore's support for the legislation is concerned. Mr Moore has very fully briefed the Government on progress of the matter. I know that he has raised with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council, of which he is a member, the issues which the Assembly put on the table through its Food Act last year. He has fully argued the case there. He has argued it passionately and strongly, as is his wont in many forums. The fact remains that, as was foreshadowed by members of the Liberal Party in the debate last year, there was a lack of support for that position from other jurisdictions. I might say that that appears to be the unanimous view of other jurisdictions, including the Labor Government of New South Wales.
Mr Speaker, I think it is quite unfair to suggest, as I think Ms Tucker might have been suggesting, that some lack of will on the part of the ACT Government has led us to the position where we have to amend the legislation that was passed last year. I have not changed my view about that original piece of legislation. I put that very clearly on the table here. But I acknowledge that Mr Moore has taken the position he held in the debate last year to the appropriate authority, to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Council, and has argued that case strongly. It is no reflection on him that other jurisdictions took the view that they should not alter the labelling standard for the sake of the ACT's position.