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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2502 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

that that action has been taking place, to inform the Assembly of the committee's view with respect to the recommendations of the Allen report, which has been referred to us directly by the Chief Minister, and to formally put forward our recommendation that the Government should defer the introduction of any legislation in connection with this new regulatory body before we report. That is the purpose of our report, Mr Speaker. It is now before the Assembly. I hope that the report is self-explanatory.

MR HUMPHRIES (Acting Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (5.21): Mr Speaker, I want to make a few comments on the report, because I have had some involvement in the last couple of months in discussing with members of the committee the Government's proposals for a gaming commission to see what might be possible. As I have not heard all of Mr Kaine's remarks, I cannot be sure whether he mentioned this or not, but members may be aware that there is, I think, a date early in the new year when appointments to the Casino Surveillance Authority - - -

Ms Tucker: We addressed that in there.

MR HUMPHRIES: He did mention that in his remarks, did he?

Ms Tucker: No, it is addressed in the report.

MR HUMPHRIES: Okay. For the benefit of the members here, I mention that there is a date early in the new year when appointments to that body expire and need to be renewed. The Government was anxious not to have to arrange for a period of renewal of membership of that authority if, in fact, it would result in some members being appointed for quite short periods of time, pending the establishment of a replacement gaming and racing commission, Mr Speaker. So, the Government had proposed - I think it is not likely to be viable at this stage - that it put on the table its proposals in legislation for the new commission at the earliest available stage, so that members of the committee, of the Assembly and of the public, for that matter, would be able to see what it was that we were proposing. In particular, the Select Committee on Gambling would be able to see what the Government had in mind for that area that would help it to frame any recommendations it would make in its final report or further reports later this year or early next year.

I have to say that I am still not entirely clear, having looked through this report and heard Mr Kaine's remarks, why it is that producing the legislation and putting it on the table in this place is, necessarily, a bad thing and prevents the committee from being able to consider its own reference and make recommendations at the end of the day. It is a question of whether the committee is influenced by the legislation or the legislation is influenced by the committee. I would have thought that the committee's recommendations in that respect were the more important matter and, therefore, the legislation being on the table would allow the committee to be able to consider its position based on what the Government was proposing in tangible terms rather than on what might have been the Government's end product with the legislation. Mr Kaine commented that there was a need for public consideration of these matters. I entirely agree. For that reason, it seemed to me to be sensible for the legislation to be on the table sooner rather than later.

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