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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2941 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Mr Moore said that he hoped I would not mind him relating a conversation in the car park. I would not mind if he had got it right. What I said was that I thought he had made a strategic mistake in leaping in and announcing that he was going to rush in with amendments to make it easier, basically, for people in this place to come to some kind of compromise. Strategically, I still think that was an error. I think Mr Moore should have consulted other people, including members of the community. As Mr Moore knows, for some time we have been working as a group, as members of the Assembly and representatives of the community. What I said to Mr Moore was that I thought he had made a strategic error in communicating the development of these amendments to people who perhaps would have held a harder line and voted against this Bill if he had not offered them the soft option. That is what I said. I think it is perfectly reasonable for him to develop amendments to be used at the very last minute if all else fails.

As I said, I think there are just too many issues here. This process is appalling. I have said it already so many times today that I will not keep saying it; but Mr Berry has once again offered members - Mr Rugendyke and Mr Kaine, in particular - the opportunity to support reasonable process. We have not seen it today. We have not had nearly enough explanation or opportunity to look at these issues. Maybe someone will stand up now and give us all the information that we would like to have; but I doubt it very much. So I urge members to support Mr Berry's motion.

MR CORBELL (9.18): Mr Speaker, I too will be supporting Mr Berry's proposed select committee.

Mr Humphries: What a surprise!

MR CORBELL: Mr Humphries, as usual, in a snarly remark across the chamber says, "What a surprise!". Mr Speaker, what I think is a surprise is that those members who are opposed to this proposition think it is all right to push through this piece of legislation tonight, when there have been none of the usual processes that this Assembly uses for getting community feedback on controversial or contentious pieces of potential legislation. That is what I think is surprising. That is what I think is wrong about this process. That is why I am supporting this referral.

I am sure that some of the people opposite will say that this is a delaying tactic. Mr Speaker, I say that this is a matter of the utmost principle. It is a matter of providing for members in this place to have adequate and effective consultation with the citizens of Canberra on what this Bill means. Not only that; it also means that we are able to draw to attention, in a more comprehensive and detailed way, the concerns that are still raised by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the ACT Discrimination Commissioner, just to name a couple who have raised serious concerns about the impact this Bill will have on women in Canberra.

Ms Tucker stood up in this place earlier today and read from the Government's own consultation manual. That manual outlines very clearly when consultation should occur. I cannot remember all the instances, so I will have to recite them off the top of my head. Ms Tucker may correct me if I am wrong, but they included if a substantial number of people in the community were affected; if people in the community had strong views on the issue; and if people would be directly affected by the decision.

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