Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3285 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the argument that the Government used on the last occasion was that adverse retrospectivity is anathema, particularly in respect of criminal matters, and should not without very good reason be proposed by the Assembly or passed by the Assembly. On that occasion, the view of the Government was ignored. The opportunity arises today to deal with the same issue and the members of the Labor Opposition choose not to take the approach they took on the occupational health and safety legislation.
What are we to conclude from that, Mr Speaker? Only that the bringing forward of the retrospective amendments to the legislation on the previous occasion was a stunt on behalf of the Opposition. It was all about suspending that important principle of parliamentary operations in order to get the Chief Minister and get various targets in respect of the Royal Canberra Hospital implosion. That is all it was about. Mr Berry's sly little smile across the way confirms that that is exactly what the Opposition was about on that occasion. So be it, Mr Speaker.
I would have thought that you would have covered yourselves a bit better, though, in the little game that you are playing by at least making a semblance of moving retrospective amendments to this Bill as well; but no, Mr Speaker. I think that even they realise that what they had done on the previous occasion with respect to retrospectivity and adverse retrospectivity being imposed on individuals for acts already committed was a pretty serious breach of good practice in terms of law-making and have decided that one commission of that kind in one year is enough.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Bill, by leave, taken as a whole
MR BERRY(3.45): Mr Humphries, in his speech at the in-principle stage, tried to make the point that there was some similarity between the laws that this legislation might affect and the legislation which was introduced by Labor earlier relating to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Dangerous Goods Act. Of course, it is quite different and the record needs to be made very clear in relation to this matter. No matter what honeyed words Mr Humphries seeks to use or what web of deception Mr Humphries seeks to create, the facts are quite different. If Mr Humphries has not had this burned into his psyche he should listen up. In the course of a coronial inquiry into one of the most tragic events in the ACT's history - a long inquiry, longer than any other inquiry of this nature has ever been, and it may well set a pattern for future inquiries - it was discovered that there was a problem with legislation which may well have directly affected those people who might be subject to prosecution under a couple of relevant laws. Those two laws were the Occupational Health and Safety Act - this is not