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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2404 ..

MR WOOD: I am not sure. I think that initially you did not go down that path. We will have the inquiry, as the coroner suggests, and that inquiry is the appropriate arrangement for the Assembly to decide where Quamby should be finally located. There is no difficulty in extending our boundaries, and I acknowledge that it is an extension, for the Assembly to say to the Chief Minister, "Under the terms of the self-government Act you have authority here and the Assembly says to you that you should exercise that authority to put Quamby into Education", or somewhere else. There is no impediment to that. To hint, as I think would be the word, that somehow we would be in contravention of the self-government Act if we allowed this to happen is simply nonsense. This is a reasonable way to proceed and I urge the Assembly to do so.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (3.53): As I listened to Mr Wood I heard him say that I, in particular, was responsible for extending the powers of the Assembly. Indeed, that is correct, but always respecting the self-government Act. Calling on the Government to do something does not conflict with the self-government Act; so I am not suggesting for one minute that there is a conflict there. Intending in any way to take over that power would indeed conflict. If you had "the Assembly requires", for example - I note that you carefully chose the word "call" - it would be a different thing.

But there is a contra to that and that is that the Government should consider the call of the Assembly as just that - a call of the Assembly, an expression of opinion to be taken into account and considered by the Chief Minister. The self-government Act states very clearly at section 43(1):

A Minister shall administer such matters relating to the powers of the Executive as are allocated to that Minister from time to time by the Chief Minister.

It is quite clear that this power is entirely in the hands of the Chief Minister - not by any action of this Assembly, but by the self-government Act, by a constitutional issue. The irony of having Bill Wood standing there and say that we need to expand these things is that we so constantly hear his leader, Jon Stanhope, say, "It is not Westminster; it is a break away from Westminster". What we have to work out is whether they stand for anything or whether they are always just opposing or just agreeing to a particular case - or whether it is just blatant toadying, as we saw this morning.

We saw this morning from Jon Stanhope blatant toadying towards Trevor Kaine, probably trying to see whether he could support Mr Kaine in a motion so that Mr Kaine would be on side later. In this case Bill Wood was just toadying to Ms Tucker to make sure that there would be enough quid pro quo for her to stay on side and give her support, whereas the matter really does not mean a great deal to members of the Labor Party individually.

I understand where Ms Tucker is coming from on this issue. She believes that it is appropriate that Quamby be within the responsibility of an area other than the criminal justice area, and anybody who thinks about this issue would understand why she would think in that way.

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