Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1300 ..
MR HARGREAVES: I move:
That, notwithstanding the provisions of standing order 174:
- the Emergency Management Bill 1998 be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for inquiry and report; and
- on the Committee presenting its report on the Bill to the Assembly the resumption of debate on the question "That this Bill be agreed to in principle" be set down as an order of the day for the next sitting.
I am proposing to have this referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety prior to the debate in the in-principle stage because I feel that there are such significant difficulties contained within the Bill that it would be of assistance to the Assembly to hear the recommendations from that standing committee. It is important that the consultation process be transparent and be as wide-ranging as we can make it. I recognise and congratulate the officers of the Minister's department on the extent to which consultation has gone on so far, but I think it could be extended a bit further.
I believe, Mr Speaker, that this is a significant piece of legislation. I think the philosophy of it will be supported by almost everybody but we need to get it right. There is no need, I believe, to rush into it. Indeed, it has not been rushed, and I congratulate the Minister for not doing that; but I still think its reference to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety will enable a number of differing views to be put forward, and the committee will be able to report to the Assembly and make recommendation for amendments if necessary. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.55): Mr Speaker, the Government has not had any notice of this motion today. I understood, from conversations I had this morning in the corridor on the first floor, that it was proposed to refer the Bill to a standing committee. I assumed it was the Justice Committee, and I see now that it is. I was not clear from my discussion this morning as to whether the referral would be pursuant to standing order 174, which allows it to go after it has had in-principle debate, or in the form that has now been moved by Mr Hargreaves, which allows it to go forward without that in-principle debate.
Mr Speaker, I have an amendment which I am about to circulate which inserts after "report" in the first paragraph the words, "by the first sitting day in November 1999". Mr Speaker, the reason for that amendment, if I might speak to it, is that I am a little concerned that this process will go on for a great deal of time without the Bill being addressed in a timely manner.