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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 110 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

They must take responsibility for what they have done. What they should do today is tell the milk industry that they understand their actions, that they are sorry for those actions - they should actually apologise - and they should vote for this legislation, but they will not.

What we get is a last-minute raft of amendments which, having looked at them and having asked my staff to look at them, I do not believe we can support. These amendments do not offer anything. This is dross; this is their way out; this is their cover-up. They say that they are going to amend the Bill to make it more reasonable or whatever. That is just an excuse. The amendments are excuse amendments to cover up their shame, they are excuse amendments to cover up their arrogance in rejecting the milk industry and deregulating it in December. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Mr Stanhope accuses us of always crashing through. I think the Labor Party and their spokesman are the ones who have crashed and burned here. The fact that Mr Stanhope had to come out and attempt to clean up the mess, somewhat sadly, in January is, I think, an indication of how badly they have handled this issue. As we have heard from other speakers - not from me, from other speakers - the vendors are in favour of this Bill. They see it as a path forward, Mr Speaker. I think it is time we just passed this Bill. I think it is time that we offered certainty to the milk industry in the ACT. I certainly think it is time that we got on with the job of allowing these small business men and women to get out there to serve the consumers, to provide a livelihood for their families and to get on with the job of delivering Canberra milk.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail Stage

Clauses 1 to 4, by leave, taken together, and agreed to.

Clauses 5 to 7, by leave, taken together

MR HARGREAVES (11.31): Firstly, I draw the attention of members to the revised amendments which have been circulated in my name. Thanks very much to the Clerk, some cosmetic changes have been made to them. Mr Speaker, the Opposition is opposed to these clauses. Curiously, this Government is actually changing the constitution of the Milk Authority and at the same time giving its functions to two government departments, Urban Services and Chief Minister's. There is an inconsistency here, Mr Speaker. In fact, we want to go back to the original Milk Authority. We want to restore the powers of the original Milk Authority and protect them. We want the Government to go back and seek exemptions under the TPA and NCP, which they have not done yet. We believe that clause 5 only pays lip-service to having the Milk Authority and clauses 6 and 7 actually dismantle it. They allow the Government to have a Milk Authority of one person.

I know that my learned colleague on my right was the Gas Authority, and he did a magnificent job because he was an apolitical public servant. But in recent times we have seen the politicisation of the Public Service quite heavily under this Government and I am afraid that a similar thing will occur if we do that.

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