Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 2596 ..
MS TUCKER (11.16): Mr Speaker, I will not be supporting the suspension of standing orders. It is not simply about whether or not we are allowing a member to table a Bill in this place without having given notice. It is not just about that one event. You have to see what is happening today in the context of the overall process from the beginning when Mr Osborne introduced his original Bill. It is about cloak-and-dagger stuff. It is about extraordinary processes and secrecy that do not make sense. I do not understand why Mr Osborne, and now Mr Humphries - and it appears with the support of the Liberal Party - are continuing to support this process. We have already condemned Mr Osborne for the way that he introduced his Bill initially.
I have been trying to get from Mr Osborne's office for some time, for the community as well as for the information of members of this place, some information about when he would be bringing his Bill back on for debate. That has been impossible to get information on. Finally, I was told last week. No, sorry, it was not last week, it was Monday. I said, "I would like to know whether I have to write a speech. Are we going to be debating it this week?". I was told, yes, maybe I should write my speech. It appears I need not have written that speech if the Bill is going to be withdrawn, but it took that much time to find out that.
Then there was talk about amendments, so I was asking, "What are the amendments? Who is doing the amendments?". No, I was not able to be told that, not even who was doing the amendments. It was actually about a month ago at least, probably longer, that I heard that possibly there were amendments.
Why are not members of this place and the community allowed to know if someone is producing amendments? Why has Mr Humphries not been talking about the amendments? If Mr Humphries had in his mind that long ago an idea that he might like to change Mr Osborne's Bill, why not bring it up for consultation? Why not talk about the issue? We did not get that information either until we got 10 pages the night before we apparently would have been asked to debate them because they were presented to us as amendments to a Bill which Mr Osborne had presented and which was due for a debate today. That is very disappointing from the Attorney-General, particularly. It is very disappointing from the Liberal Party and the Government and anyone else who is supporting this process.
What we have here today is another extension of this kind of very strange process. Now, suddenly, they are not Mr Humphries' amendments; it is a new Bill. I heard Mr Humphries say that Mr Osborne could not have done it before because he did not have the Bill until last night. Why not? Why did Mr Humphries decide last night to give his amendments to Mr Osborne?
Mr Osborne: You wanted to adjourn it for a week, so we listened to you.
MS TUCKER: Mr Osborne says it was because I was seeking an adjournment. Of course we were seeking for appropriate process. It is absurd to present 10 pages of amendments to people the night before we have to debate them. So that is the rationale, is it? Okay, let us have good process.