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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 761 ..

Mr Hird: He does not have to withdraw.

MR HARGREAVES: All right. Very well. The gloves are off.

MR SPEAKER: No, there is no call for that.




Debate resumed from 17 February 1999, on motion by Mr Berry:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SPEAKER: Is it the wish of the Assembly to debate this order of the day concurrently with order of the day No. 4, the Dangerous Goods (Amendment) Bill 1999? There being no objection, that course will be followed. I remind members that in debating order of the day No. 3 they may address their remarks to order of the day No. 4.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (3.22): Mr Speaker, this is a debate of considerable gravity. I hope that members will listen carefully to what is said in this debate, because I will go on to argue that what we are proposing to do in this debate goes a very considerable way down a path that we have not yet trodden as an Assembly. I particularly hope that those members of the Assembly, particularly those on the crossbench, whose views were indicated in the Canberra Times as having been made up on this issue, will listen to this debate because the arguments here are very pertinent and very important.

Mr Speaker, on its face, this legislation is eminently supportable. Indeed, the Government will actually support the Bills which are before the Assembly at the moment. They do, in fact, what the Government foreshadowed it intended to do in a legislative program which was tabled last month. But, Mr Speaker, the concern here is not the legislation itself. The concern is the amendments to the legislation which Mr Berry tabled today at half past eleven during a debate on an earlier matter. I note in passing that the amendments were drafted on 1 March, but they were not made available to anybody until today, 24 March.

Mr Berry: They were made available to others before then.

MR HUMPHRIES: They were not made available to the Government before today. They may have been made available to other members, but they were not made available to the Government.

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