Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 3409 ..
MR BERRY: It was open to you to do that. If people do those sorts of things it is open for you to proceed. I do not think this Bill will change any of that. If people vandalise it is open to the Speaker or the Clerk to engage the police to look into the matter. This Bill will not change that. If there was some vandalism, under this legislation the response would be the same.
Mr Humphries: Are you opposed to the Bill, Wayne?
MR BERRY: We do not think it should be passed in principle. I will be moving to send it off to a committee. I cannot see the need for the legislation. It seems to me to be a duplication. We are happy to refer it to the Administration and Procedure Committee and let them have a look at it.
Ms Carnell: Hasn't it been there?
MR BERRY: No, I do not think so. It strikes me as most appropriate that the Administration and Procedure Committee look at this anyway. Mr Speaker, assuming that the Bill passes the in-principle stage, I will be moving to send it off to the Administration and Procedure Committee for review and report. That is not to say that some of the provisions within the Bill are terribly harmful. They are provisions which might serve some practical purpose, but they mostly duplicate laws which are already available to us. They also address a situation which, to me anyway, does not seem to be a problem.
It is true that we do not have legislation of the order which exists in other States, and there may be an argument that we should. I cannot see it because my powers and my privileges in this place have never been interfered with as a result of the absence of this legislation since 1989. I have never felt threatened. Other people may have been, but I do not think this legislation would have stopped that. The same avenues were available to people if that were the case. The police could have been called to deal with matters.
Mr Speaker, I do not feel that this is terribly urgent legislation. Again, it is that nanny-state sort of stuff, that we have to legislate for everything, and that troubles me. If the Administration and Procedure Committee is able to review the Bill and come forward with some sensible amendments I would be quite happy to consider them later on, but at this point I do not think we should proceed further than the in-principle stage at least. I would be happy to be convinced otherwise if the Administration and Procedure Committee were to recommend otherwise, but at this point I think it would be improper to proceed with the Bill until it is properly reviewed.
You would all have received some advice referred to you by the Speaker, I think, from the Clerk which raised some issues in relation to the matter. They are issues which I think ought to be reviewed in the context of a proper inquiry. I do not think it is appropriate for us to try to analyse each and every aspect of the Bill and its application in this place without it having first been to a committee. We will support sending it off to a committee if it survives the in-principle stage, and it looks as though it will.