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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 333 ..

MR OSBORNE: I ask a supplementary question. Minister, could you give me some advice - I have been here for only a short period of time - on how I could do things differently? I will just give you the history of what happened with this piece of legislation without talking about the issue of extra time. I wrote to the office of the Parliamentary Counsel. They drafted the Bill. It went off to the scrutiny of Bills committee, it came back, it was sent off to a committee and the Government made a submission. The Government was not against the idea of a designated children's magistrate. The issue, from memory, was time. I think the Government's submission was nine months. Correct me if I am wrong, Mr Hargreaves. Others wanted anything up to seven years. We had agreed on two years until Mr Hird all of a sudden came along with new directions. Given that, Minister, I then wrote to the Parliamentary Counsel for amendments to the original Bill to set in place the major recommendations about the timeframe. One of the issues was the timeframe. I received those amendments from the Parliamentary Counsel. Leaving aside your claim about not having enough time, could you advise me on how we could get around situations like this when I think I asked all the people I should have asked what to do? I did not draft the legislation, Mr Humphries.

Mr Moore: Do not flick-pass, Paul.

MR OSBORNE: I am not flick-passing. I did not draft the legislation. It appears that the problems come about because of the amendments. I just want to know why it was not raised earlier.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Osborne, you have asked your question, thank you.

MR OSBORNE: You had the opportunity to make a submission, Minister.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Osborne. You have asked your question. I will allow it.

MR OSBORNE: I accept the problem, Mr Speaker, but I do not know what could have been done differently, when I sought all the advice and I saw all the relevant people I normally ask advice of.

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, the Government did go to lengths to describe last night what it believed should have been done differently; that is, we ought to have done what we do in the case of every other report that is brought down by a committee with respect to legislation. We allow the Government to table a response to that and, in the case of a Bill like this which has legal implications, allow the Government's lawyers to consider the matter and put a proposal to the Government which the Government then puts before the Assembly.

Mr Osborne: Why did you not do it when you made the submission to the committee?

MR HUMPHRIES: Because we are allowed three months. Our public servants work to a three-month timeframe. A submission was being prepared and it was coming forward to the Assembly for that purpose. There was legislation before it. It was considering that and it had the chance to respond to that, but within a framework of three months.

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