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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 2813 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

As I have said before in this place, somebody who is hanging out for heroin and wants to get on the methadone program is not going to be that happy when they go out to their car and discover, "Wowee, I do not have a leaflet under my windscreen-wiper". That is the very point we make. There are more important things to do. Indeed, we made the point in the committee report that the Executive agreed with Mr Moore's approach. That is why it is so silly for the Health Minister to be dealing with something which the Executive agreed with and which should have been in the hands of the appropriate portfolio Minister. That could have easily been done, leaving Mr Moore to do other, more important things.

In the scheme of things this is not much. Ministers may think that they can be diverted from their portfolio responsibilities to muck around with insignificant issues for the sake of a few cheap publicity points, but I do not think it should happen. The fifth Minister was appointed on the basis of workload. It is pretty hard to argue that you have a heavy workload if you can muck around with that sort of legislation on the side. That is the point we made, and we think we made it well. It undermines the basis for the establishment of a fifth Minister if Ministers have spare time to muck around with stuff that can just as well be looked after by the relevant portfolio Minister in the Executive, particularly when the Executive agrees with it. If there was a clash of ideology within the Executive - I do not see signs of too many clashes - there may well be a point to a Minister dealing with something under the changes to the standing orders. I have expressed my view about that and need not say any more about it.

I think we have made the case well. The Government should take note of all of the recommendations and report back to the Assembly in due course. We can say a thing or two about it then. Let us not forget that this is a report of the Assembly, not a report of Wayne Berry, as some people would like to picture it. This is a report of the Assembly which has been prepared conscientiously by staff of the Assembly. It has also been attended to by members of this Assembly conscientiously. We disagree on many angles, but even Mr Hird agrees with 14 or 15 of the recommendations. Mr Rugendyke agrees with 18 of the 19 recommendations and the majority agree with all of them. It was a properly prepared report with significant and positive contributions to make to the development of better government for the taxpayers of the ACT. It should be seen as nothing else.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Debate resumed from 17 November 1998, on motion by Ms Carnell:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR QUINLAN (4.16): Mr Speaker, the ALP will support this Bill. It is procedural, and we support it as far as it goes. Certainly we would like to see within this Bill a widening of exemption provisions, but we support it and we trust that the amended legislation has a long life, because that will mean that this tax has not been repealed and we will not be having a GST or, if we do have a GST, it will have been modified.

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