Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2943 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
a perception of this place as an institution which is out of control; which pays no regard to public opinion; which does not live up to the tenets it sets itself in relation to public consultation or participatory democracy; and which is in most respects an institution that people in Canberra can no longer respect.
If we as members of the Legislative Assembly truly believe that, as an institution, we have an obligation to make good laws, to act in the best interests of the people of Canberra and to maintain the integrity of this place as a representative chamber, then we have a responsibility to ensure that, on a contentious piece of legislation such as this, every opportunity is taken for members of the community to have their say. (Extension of time granted) If we do not do that, if we do not provide that avenue, we bring into disrepute the legitimacy of this chamber and we bring into disrepute every one of us - not just those like me who argue that it is the wrong approach to oppose a select committee, but every one of us. We will all be tarred with the same brush.
So I ask members in this place to allow the integrity of our decision-making processes to remain, to allow all information to be presented in an open and credible way where it can be examined and debated to the fullest and widest extent possible, and then to let us make the decision. That is the way to proceed. To ram this Bill through tonight does us no credit at all, particularly those who choose not to support this select committee tonight.
MR RUGENDYKE (9.29): Mr Speaker, I rise to oppose the motion. Earlier today I voted against an attempt to postpone the debate. I see this motion to refer the issue to a committee as yet another delay. As I stated earlier today, the issues have been on the table for three months at least. We have the debate in front of us. I would like to see the Assembly make progress in the chamber while we have the opportunity. Therefore, I will be voting against this motion.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (9.30): Mr Speaker, I will be very brief in speaking to this motion, which does not really require much time to dispose of. Let me say that the level of hypocrisy that I have heard in some of these comments tonight does not surprise me; but it does, I think, need to be drawn to the attention of some people listening to this debate. Ms Tucker and Mr Corbell, from the Greens and the Labor Party, tell us how dreadful it is to attempt to deal with a Bill with many amendments in the space of time that has been provided for consideration of this Bill. If such action brings this house into disrepute, then the house was brought into disrepute on many occasions in the past, and in particular at this time almost exactly three years ago, when the Labor Party and the Greens worked together to bring forward debate on a Bill which had been on the table for one week - seven days - which was rather longer than this Bill, which was the citizens-initiated referendums legislation, and they saw fit to dispose of that legislation within the space of seven days.
Ms Tucker: And Mr Moore, from memory.
MR HUMPHRIES: Maybe so; but you saw fit to dispose of the legislation within the space of seven days. If it was good enough three years ago, Mr Speaker, it is good enough today. The other argument I have heard tonight, which I have to comment on, is that we need time to hear all these different groups. Who seriously believes that in this