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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 2604 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

We have here, I think, a certain amount of piousness. We are often not told, for instance, when amendments are coming forward. Ms Tucker, in her words, conceded that this has been done before. I am not sure why we waste so much time about this. If people are concerned about the content of this Bill, the best way to find out and have a reasonable debate is by allowing Mr Osborne to table the Bill and for all of us to have a reasonable look at it. I think the introduction of this Bill today will foster debate, and when Mr Osborne chooses to bring it forward we can have the substantive debate.

I can assure Mr Berry that the amendments he refers to as the Government's amendments have not been through Cabinet. They should not be considered as the Government's amendments. Indeed, the flaw in his argument is that Mr Moore, who is part of the Government, opposes them. Ms Carnell was on the radio yesterday or out in the public arena stating that she had difficulties with some of the then Gary Humphries' amendments, and I understand that Ms Carnell has not even seen Mr Osborne's Bill. I have not seen it. Mr Stefaniak tells me he has not seen it. We are all keen to see it.

Mr Hird: I have not seen it.

MR WOOD: Mr Hird confirms that he has not seen it. The best way for all of us to see it, Mr Speaker, in a reasonable way, is for standing orders to be suspended and for Mr Osborne to be given permission to bring forward his Bill. Let it be tabled for consideration and let us get on with business.

MR OSBORNE (11.46), in reply: Mr Speaker, I would like to start by apologising to Mr Corbell and withdrawing that remark that Ms Tucker put into Hansard. I do apologise for that, Simon. It was said in the heat of the moment. Mr Speaker, I am a little bit amazed at some of the arguments that have been put up here. Yes, I did not raise this matter at yesterday's Administration and Procedure Committee meeting because it was not my intention to withdraw my Bill and put a new Bill on the table. It was not decided until late last night. That is why the matter was not brought up yesterday at the Administration and Procedure Committee meeting.

I am not asking members to vote on the Bill today. I am just seeking leave, which I think is the proper process, from the Assembly. I am seeking a majority vote from members of the Assembly to table my Bill. That is it, Mr Speaker. I accept the will of the Assembly in relation to the original Bill and I will be withdrawing it immediately after I table my new Bill. I think reasonable people would have no problem with what we are trying to do here.

Mr Speaker, as I said, I have accepted that a majority of members will not be supporting my original Bill and that is why we decided late last night to follow this process. I understand that Mr Hargreaves and Mr Wood have had many sleepless nights in the last couple of months, as have many of us over this issue. I would encourage them to have a good look at this new Bill. I think it is quite a sensible alternative. I really do not know how anyone could object to this revised version.

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