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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 129 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Committee, chaired by Mr Osborne". Flick pass extraordinaire, I would have thought. That is exactly what was said. If Mr Stanhope is happy for me to table the letters which he wrote to me, then I would be happy to do so, both here and generally in the community. I think they tell a very interesting story.

Mr Speaker, I was left without any clear indication from anybody to whom I had written about their view about retrospective legislation. I was left also with the Government's longstanding concern about not legislating retrospectively in such an area. In those circumstances, Mr Speaker, I felt entirely justified in putting into the Government's legislative program legislation which would provide for prospective amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act but not retrospective amendment.

Mr Corbell: You are ducking and weaving all over the place, Gary.

MR HUMPHRIES: Not at all. I have been consistent on that principle since my first day in this Assembly. Members will know that I have on occasions stepped in, both from within the Cabinet of the ACT and from the Opposition benches, to amend legislation which retrospectively affected people's rights. For example, legislation was brought forward, I think, in 1993 to remove people's rights to claim certain things in respect of lottery tickets. I amended that legislation on my own motion to make sure that people who had already begun actions in the Supreme Court of the ACT would not have their rights affected by that change. Mr Speaker, that is my position today. It has been my position every day since I have been in this place, and it will be the position I take in discussions on this matter in the future. I am sorry that others in this place have not been prepared to support that position as clearly and forthrightly as obviously some on this side of the chamber have been.

MR STANHOPE: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. My letter to the Attorney - - -

Mr Humphries: Is this a preamble, Mr Speaker?

MR STANHOPE: No. My letter to the Attorney of 31 May not only expressed the view that I supported the proposed amendment, namely, the amendment proposed in the correspondence provided to me by the Attorney, but actually set out the very nature of an amendment that would be supported by the Opposition. I actually set out the terms of the motion, so the Minister's answer is absolute rubbish. It is absolute obfuscation, besides the fact that it has done nothing.

MR SPEAKER: Your question, Mr Stanhope. Mr Stanhope, you have a question?

MR STANHOPE: Yes. My question is: Will the Minister confirm that the reason that he has given that long obfuscatory dissertation is that he wants to cover up the fact that his inaction has led to this unfortunate situation?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, it is the Labor Party which is sidestepping the crucial issue here, the question of retrospectivity. If the Labor Party was happy to enact retrospective legislation, why did they not say so when they wrote to me?

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