Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 298 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
Prosecutions (Amendment) Bill 1998 which required very little development work, the small amount of time required to debate the Litter (Amendment) Bill, and some development work and some public discussion of two issues related to the Assembly - four-year terms and a population-based formula determining the number of members. If anything, I must concede that I have found less time to attend to my private members business than I would have liked.
Mr Speaker, other events have overtaken a few items on my spring program of last August. I am pleased to say that my longstanding efforts to see the use of commercial-in-confidence status to protect documents from FOI legislation have been in large measure addressed. The Government released last year some much improved rules relating to the use of this status. The new rules have been reviewed by the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio and, in general, have been well received. I am content with these reforms, although I will continue to monitor their use.
On another issue, I am aware that the Minister for Urban Services is in the process of developing for the ACT a possible archives Act to govern the protection of ACT records. I will make a contribution to the development of such legislation, in particular focusing on the need for a rule governing the release of Cabinet documents, in which regard I personally favour a 10-year rule. I have therefore removed this item from my private agenda.
My proposals for four-year terms and population-based size of the Assembly are more or less ready to go, but, in deference to the work of the select committee examining the Pettit report, I am awaiting the outcome of that committee's deliberations. I say as an aside for members, particularly for members of that committee, that if they prefer that that sort of legislation be put by the Government or someone else in the Assembly, I would respect that view. The reason I have it there is that it was part of my election platform. However, I do not mind how I deliver my election platform. If the legislation is tabled by someone else, I am quite content so long as the outcome is the same.
Mr Speaker, as I stated last August, I cannot give an absolute guarantee that I will not bring forward any additional materials, but members and others are entitled to expect that I will strive to keep as closely as possible to this program. As with my earlier program, I invite members to contact me if they have interests overlapping my own. I am, as always, open to the fullest possible cooperation in this Assembly. I thank members.
Debate resumed from 19 November 1998, on motion by Mr Humphries:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.37): Mr Speaker, the Labor Party is happy to support this Bill. I will speak briefly on the matter. The Labor Party accepts the rationale put forward by the Government for introducing the legislation.