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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4131 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

language. It avoids the possibility of a barren argument about whether an instrument may or may not have some form of legal status before it is published in the Gazette.

To the extent that the efflux of time has eroded the certainty of the Assembly in 1994, these amendments are intended to unambiguously restore it. The amendments operate retrospectively to achieve the outcome clearly intended by the Assembly in 1994. In doing so, this Bill confirms the practice adopted in relation to the publication of notice in Gazettes since the earlier amendments were passed in 1994.

I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Motion (by Mr Humphries ) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent the Bill from being considered at all stages forthwith.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (4.28): I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, I think I have said all I want to say about this Bill.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (4.29): I will speak briefly to the matter, Mr Speaker. The Labor Party is prepared to support this Bill. We are supporting it on the basis of assurances received by me from the Attorney-General and officers from the Office of Financial Management and the Department of Justice who briefed me this morning about the need for the Bill and about the need for it to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. I am grateful that officers from the Attorney's department and the Office of Financial Management were able to brief me at very short notice this morning.

Because of the fact that the Bill has been dealt with in this way - I was first advised just in this week's sitting by the Attorney - we have not been able to consider it in detail. The Attorney did give me a copy of the Bill last night but we have had extremely little time to consider it, having regard to the weight of other matters that we are dealing with this week. There is therefore, and I express this to the Attorney, an element of faith and trust in our agreement today to the passage of this Bill as a matter of urgency.

As I said, I was briefed by officers from departments. I understand from those officers that, as explained in the Attorney's presentation speech, there is a perceived difficulty that the Bill seeks to overcome. It may transpire that there is not a problem.

There is an element of disagreement between the present and previous Parliamentary Counsel in relation to the exact impact of amendments that were made to the Subordinate Laws Act in 1994, and the Bill that we are now discussing to some extent is to put beyond doubt the adequacy of processes that have been in place and will continue in place in relation to the gazetting of instruments and determinations. That is the basis

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