Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1231 ..
MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
MR OSBORNE (10.34): I present Scrutiny Report No 6 of 2000 of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety performing the duties of a scrutiny of bills and subordinate legislation committee. This report was provided to the Speaker for circulation on Wednesday, 3 May 2000, pursuant to the resolution of an appointment. I move:
That the report be noted.
MR OSBORNE: Mr Speaker, the scrutiny of bills committee has discussed one particular aspect of this report in session twice, and I have had subsequent correspondence and discussions with the Clerk of the Assembly to understand the full implications of the potential impact of the passage of the legislation.
The scrutiny of bills legal adviser, Peter Bayne, has commented at length on allowing a body or person other than a parliament to raise a tax. His initial comments were challenged by the Treasurer, and members would have noted Mr Bayne's response when this report was distributed late last week.
Mr Speaker, I would like to read an email from the Clerk in relation to this issue. I have discussed it with Mr McRae, and he has no problems with me doing that. It says:
Having reviewed the committee's initial comments, the Minister's response, and the committee's comments in its report No.6 of 2000 I have the following comments to add.
The genesis of the Bill is
(a) to remove the possibility (referred to as "theoretical possibility" in the em) of a determined fee being challenged and found invalid if it were found that it imposed a tax (the em considered this possibility more theoretical than real); and
(b) according to the em, where determined fees are increased to meet GST payments it will be difficult for the Territory to argue that its fee represents an amount that is a fair recompense for the service that is provided and this will leave the fee open to challenge.