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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (31 August) . . Page.. 2640 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

number of days allowed for disallowance other than in accordance with a judgment about whether the administrative and consultative tasks that are required can be achieved within the time allowed.

So, taking a proposal that is incorporated in amendments which I will move, it seems to us that tabling within six sitting days should be achievable, as the subordinate law would have been signed and printed before gazettal, and gazettal must occur before tabling. What we propose is that a notice of motion for disallowance be given within, say, 12 sitting days. I must say that we did not apply an objective test to that; it was just an application of judgment. That is currently the shortest disallowance period anywhere in Australia, so we suggested, "Well, let's equal that shortest time, which represents four sitting weeks". It allows the scrutiny committee sufficient time to examine and report on the law, the Government to respond to the committee, and members to consult any interested parties. It will cut some time off the current period.

To sum up, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, we support the Attorney in his desire to create some greater certainty and to create some reduction in time. We believe that there are other ways of doing this. The model that we are proposing in our amendments, if adopted, would create a situation in which the ACT more closely mirrored every other jurisdiction in Australia. The six-day period for tabling after making seems to us to be primarily consistent with every other jurisdiction in Australia, and the reduction from 15 sitting days to 12 seems to us to be quite appropriate. It does allow time for extended community consultation and for this place to undertake its scrutiny of the legislation.

Subject to those suggested amendments which achieve the same aim to some extent, but in a slightly more structured way, we believe, we are happy to pursue legislation of this order. We think that is a better model, and I will move those amendments in due course.

MS TUCKER (4.48): I think Mr Stanhope has made the points clearly, so I will not repeat them. I understand Mr Humphries' intention. I think it is reasonable to reduce the time, but I have similar concerns regarding the scrutiny of Bills and so on. I think the compromise that has been offered by Labor is acceptable, so I will be supporting this Bill with the amendments proposed by Mr Stanhope.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (4.49), in reply: I thank members for their support for the legislation. What we are doing here is reducing the time that documents lie on the table or the time that is required for them to be brought to the Assembly after having been made in one form or another. I am talking, of course, about disallowable instruments. It seems to me that under the amendments circulated by Mr Stanhope there is a reduction in both periods, and under the Government's proposal there is a reduction in the second of those two periods. So there is a period in which a piece of legislation lies on the table, but it is a shorter period that is proposed by the Government.

We will support the first two amendments to be moved by Mr Stanhope. I think that is appropriate. However, I suggest that the Assembly should not support the second two amendments, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, and I will explain why.

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