Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 732 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
has yet been processed for club premises there, since the question of excising part of the floor area has not yet even been brought before the Chief Minister. How can we be discussing those issues? They are not yet on the table.
People jumping to the conclusion that there is some sort of hidden agenda, some sort of program beyond what my Bill purports to do, are grossly mistaken. In that assumption there seems to be a predetermined view about what position I will take should the matter come before the Chief Minister, become a disallowable instrument and come to this place. They have a predetermined view about what position I will take when that time comes. Mr Speaker, they may well be surprised. What I am talking about here is the simple question of process. I think the fact that Mr Osborne withdrew from this debate is regrettable. It is not about poker machine licensing or club licensing or anything associated with that. Those are issues to be dealt with at another time but presumably in this place. I do not accept that this is about poker machine licensing or club licensing or anything else. Let us focus on what the issue is about. It is a very simple issue.
I will now deal with some of the questions raised by the Chief Minister. She talked about the 15 sitting days for disallowance of a disallowable instrument as being too long. If it is too long in this case, why is it not too long in every other case? I think Mr Moore is right. We should really be considering whether or not the current prescription that these regulations have to sit on the table for 15 sitting days is reasonable. We would serve the community a lot better and allow decisions to be made quicker if perhaps it was only three sitting days, or maybe four to cover two sitting weeks. But that is a matter that is to be debated. The current situation is that it is 15 sitting days. It is as much the Chief Minister's responsibility as anybody's to change that if she thinks that it is too long. But to argue against it on the basis that this involved a commercial decision - - -
Mr Humphries: But she did not do that.
MR KAINE: Yes, she did. She made much of the fact that there were commercial decisions involved in this case and therefore 15 sitting days was too long. I suggest that you reread the Hansard, Mr Humphries, because I was making notes when she said it. I do not disagree that 15 sitting days is too long. I do agree that it can take many weeks, and that in itself perhaps needs to be addressed.
On the question of the effective date being retrospective, the Chief Minister has assured me that there is nothing before her that would require this, and Mr Rugendyke has signified an intention to amend the Bill to delete that date. I am perfectly happy with that. I will act on the Chief Minister's assurance that she has nothing before her at the moment. After this Bill is passed this morning, which I suspect it will be, she then, in good conscience, could not move without the disallowance provision anyway, even though the 10 March date is not there. I accept that and I am happy to see the date removed. I accept Mr Rugendyke's amendment.
Ms Tucker talked about community input and community interest in debates like this. If a Minister can unilaterally make a decision like this and simply gazette it, there can be no community debate. I think it would be going too far to say that the community has no