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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 2951 ..

Mr Corbell: Yes, that is what Mr Moore is doing.

MR STEFANIAK: I do not think that is the case at all.

Mr Corbell: That was the point Mr Stanhope was making.

MR STEFANIAK: I think it is exactly the opposite to what your leader said. Mr Speaker, we have had three months of extensive consultation. For those of us who have been in previous Assemblies - I accept that Mr Hargreaves and a few other members have not - this issue has been raised on a number of occasions. I think Mr Humphries is right in that most of us do have fairly set views now in terms of this issue. We have a different sort of Bill, but a Bill with amendments in plain English, on this very important issue, and I think members of the community expect us to debate it and expect us to come to a decision. It is not something members of the community want to be hung on a hook over for months on end and have delayed and extended and extended.

I think this motion is just a delaying tactic. There would be some merit perhaps if the whole issue had only been introduced last week, but it has not. It has been around for three months. I cannot see any benefit that we would get from supporting the Bill going off to a committee for further debate. Also, I have significant concerns about Mr Berry's composition of the proposed committee. It is absolutely amazing. It is virtually everyone except the Executive, and I think there are some real problems there. I will certainly be opposing his motion, Mr Speaker.

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, this is very important. I seek leave to speak again.

Leave granted.

MR CORBELL: I thank the Assembly for its indulgence and I will be brief. Mr Speaker, there are a couple of points that have been raised in this debate which I think it is very important to respond to so that members can properly consider the proposal to establish a select committee. The first is the point that was made by Mr Humphries earlier in the debate when he said that there is no point having a select committee because MLAs will not change their minds. It will not matter, so therefore it is not necessary. Well, as my colleague Mr Hargreaves has indicated, there is at least one member in this place who has not made up their mind.

More importantly, there is a principle at stake here. It is not just about whether we have all made up our minds. How can we make up our minds when we do not know the views that are out there that need to be expressed in a formal way to this Assembly through the select committee process? It is a bit like that old saying on justice, Mr Speaker. Justice must not just be done, it must be seen to be done. I would argue in this case that law-making should not just be done, it must be seen to be done. I think that is a fairly important principle. I think that is one of the fundamental reasons why parliaments have committees in the first place - so that that opportunity for comment can be addressed and arguments that perhaps we do not even know about can be aired in a public way. That is in response to Mr Humphries' point.

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