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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3809 ..

MR STANHOPE: They are certainly worth considering. They must be considered, but I think they will occupy about half-an-hour of the department's time and half-an-hour of the Parliamentary Counsel's time. I just cannot get excited about them. One of the questions posed is: Should the direction to be given by Mr Humphries to the DPP extend to whether or not a seller of drugs is to be absolved or excluded? The answer quite clearly is no. Sellers and pushers of drugs are to be pursued with the full force of the law. It is a rhetorical question asked by the scrutiny of Bills committee. I can tell the scrutiny of Bills committee the answer to that question now. It is no. Pushers of drugs, sellers of drugs, are not to be excused in any circumstances. So I can dispose of point No. 1 simply. No.

The second point goes to this question of who shall use the facility. The amendments provide a whole regime requiring that there be detailed protocols. The answer is simple.

Mr Kaine: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think the Leader of the Opposition is merely reiterating what he said before. I do not think he is adding much to the debate, and I am wondering how much latitude you are going to give him. As for expressions of opinion, he says we are going to deal with these matters, but he is still not giving the solution as to how he is going to do so, and I do not think it adds anything to the debate.

MR SPEAKER: Members, I would remind you all that there is still no question before the chair. We have, however, spent something like an hour-and-a-quarter on this matter. I have no particular problem about how long we propose to stay here tonight or tomorrow morning, but others might like to consider it.

MR STANHOPE: Well, I will conclude shortly. Turning to point No. 4 and point No. 5 of the scrutiny of Bills committee's report, I will read out the concluding remark of the committee in relation to their fourth point of concern. The committee referred to the interrelationship between the Attorney-General's powers under section 20 of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act to issue a direction and the way in which it is proposed the direction be issued in this particular instance. What did the committee say about this interrelationship? This is whether or not it is a generic direction or a specific direction. I had always anticipated that it would be a generic description of the class of people against whom the DPP is not to proceed. The point is that the committee simply says:

This is, however, a point of some significance, and the matter might be clarified lest misunderstandings arise.

Let us clarify it so that misunderstanding does not arise. It is simple. The Office of Parliamentary Counsel, I think, can do it in five minutes. Perhaps I am doing them a disservice. They can do it in a minute. It is nothing. It is of no moment.

The final point that the committee makes goes once again to the nature of the Attorney-General's powers in relation to the issuing of directions. These are just non-issues. That is the point I make. I just think these things should be put in some context. People concerned about this simply need to read the scrutiny of Bills

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