Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3254 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
As I have said quite generously, it is a good document. It is the sort of document that the Labor Party has certainly been calling on the Government to deliver. It is very broad. We do have those couple of concerns about evaluation and monitoring. It will be interesting as we go along to see how the Government deals with those particular issues - five issues - and I have no doubt that it is something that Mr Moore's department will take on board or has on board. They are the comments I wish to make, Mr Speaker. The Labor Party is pleased to see this document. We do have concerns about its exact status. I do think this is an issue which we as an Assembly do need to explore.
Ms Carnell: There will be lots more.
MR STANHOPE: Mrs Carnell says they will be doing it a lot more times. But on two occasions now, particularly with the abortion regulations and again with this particular issue, we have a situation in which the Executive - the Cabinet - is actually making law which in every other parliament in Australia, and probably in the Westminster world, would be done through private members business; it is actually being done by the Executive. This is a significant departure from convention which does impact on accepted notions of responsible government. We have got Mr Humphries and Mrs Carnell over here scoffing at this, but these are significant departures from accepted process, accepted conventions within parliaments. Mrs Carnell is actually proud of that. As an Assembly we probably should look at these issues.
It did raise significant issues for us as a parliament, that we are now instituting this departure from conventions about Cabinet solidarity, Cabinet responsibility, and departure from those accepted conventions that governments do not introduce legislation on conscience issues. It is not done anywhere else. We are the only parliament I know of, Mr Speaker, in which the government legislates on conscience issues. In every other parliament in Australia, it is done through private members business. I suggest to you, Mr Speaker, particularly in your role as Speaker of this place, that does have significant implications for how we operate. It renders aspects of the House of Representatives Practice simply not relevant to this parliament. Those parts of the House of Representatives Practice dealing with the collective responsibility of Cabinet no longer apply to this parliament. There are serious implications for us in relation to that.
MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (12.15): Mr Speaker, I was not going to speak in this debate but the claptrap we have just heard from the Leader of the Opposition has to be responded to. First of all, there were a few misconceptions. Mr Moore does not sit in the Liberal party room. Mr Moore sits in the Cabinet and exercises a vote in Cabinet in those matters where he wishes to be part of a Cabinet deliberation. But where he cannot, pursuant to the agreement he has entered into with the Liberal Party, he separates himself from the Government.
Mr Moore also attends meetings where we discuss tactics for the coming sitting day - a whole-of-government meeting, a sort of a joint party room, if you like. But Mr Moore does not sit in the Liberal Party room. When the Liberal Party debates matters of policy,