Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 2597 ..
Mr Osborne: We will listen to you.
MS TUCKER: Mr Osborne says he wants to listen to what we are saying. Okay. He now has decided, apparently, to seek the right to withdraw his Bill, although we still do not particularly know that. Mr Humphries tells us that that possibly is what will happen. Mr Osborne can table this Bill. He can give notice that he will table this Bill.
It is a new piece of legislation, obviously. I will not be asking for a week's adjournment necessarily. We need to look at this Bill. The community needs time to look at this Bill. We have an entirely new process apparently that has just been thrust upon the Assembly and the community once again. I absolutely support whoever said - Mr Stanhope, I think, or Mr Corbell - that in fact this is an absolute scandal for this Assembly. What will the community think, particularly about Mr Osborne who has a committee to look at how to make processes credible in the ACT Assembly? He is making a total joke of it. I just heard him, across the chamber, saying to Mr Corbell, "Sit down, you idiot". I heard Mr Humphries say, "Oh, but other people are being abusive". I am sorry; other people are criticising the process here. They are not abusing people and calling people idiots. It is another example of why I think this Assembly is losing credibility and it is totally unacceptable.
If we are going to be presented with a new Bill, we can be presented with a new Bill with appropriate process. I accept that on some occasions this has happened in the past, but you cannot possibly see what has happened today on its own. It must be seen in the context of the overall process which I have just explained. (Extension of time granted) If members support the suspension of standing orders and allow this, then be it on their heads at the next election.
MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (11.22): Mr Speaker, I seem to recall that in the First Assembly, and at some other times too, Bills were withdrawn and replaced with other Bills. Other Bills were introduced at short notice. There are a number of pretty salient facts here which also assist Mr Osborne in bringing in this particular Bill. Firstly, there is the issue. The Bill he has on the table at present has been around now for close to three months. The substantive issue is one that has been debated in this place on a number of occasions. I heard Mr Humphries interject to Ms Tucker that she had made up her mind. This is certainly an issue on which many members have largely made up their minds. This particular issue is in fact before us at present in the form a Bill, and Mr Osborne now wants to bring in another Bill.
There are three very relevant facts. Firstly, there is precedent for a new Bill to be brought in and an old Bill to be replaced. I seem to recall doing that myself in the First Assembly with the first move-on powers Bill as a result of a committee which caused a new Bill to be introduced and the old one sitting on the table to be replaced.
Mr Berry: That was a brilliant success.
MR STEFANIAK: It was a very good Bill, too. I am glad to see it back, Mr Berry. Also, Ms Carnell made the point that Mr Osborne could simply bring this in again tomorrow. I think the issue has been around for three months. People, I think, are fairly well aware of what Mr Humphries' amendments are proposing. I understand they are the