Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 9 Hansard (7 September) . . Page.. 2964 ..
MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):
I would also like to mention the foreshadowed amendments from the Labor Party and the Greens. The Greens spoke to my office yesterday and I will be supporting at least one of their amendments, and I will listen carefully during the detail debate before determining my position on the other.
However, Mr Speaker, I have found the Labor Party's approach to this bill extremely curious. At last Wednesday's government business meeting the Labor Party representative said that they had concerns about this bill and wanted to consult, including with the Independents. Now, I have not seen the Labor Party, and they certainly have not fulfilled their pledge to consult on their intentions. The first I saw of any Labor Party amendments was five minutes before sitting this morning, so I am not aware of what the Labor Party is trying to achieve and I will listen to their case today with great interest.
The reason I am extremely guarded about the Labor Party's proposed amendments is that it was the Labor Party who was responsible for this anomaly in the first place. The disclosure requirements were part of a Labor Party bill that was introduced in 1993 and passed in 1994. During this seven-year period the Labor Party has never attempted to fix the anomaly.
Mr Corbell: Was it passed with the Liberals' assent?
Mr Humphries: You were in government at the time. It was your bill.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Stop interjecting, Mr Corbell.
Mr Corbell: Who opposed that legislation in 1994? Did you oppose it?
Mr Humphries: No. Much of it we did.
Mr Corbell: Oh, you supported it. Right. I bet Mr Moore supported it as well.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Rugendyke, continue. Order, please!
MR RUGENDYKE: Again I point out that the Electoral Commissioner has stated that the anomaly is outside the intended scope of the legislation, the intended scope of the Labor Party bill. During this seven-year period the Labor Party has never mentioned changing the intended scope of its own legislation. Now that the Electoral Commissioner has advised that the anomaly is not in the spirit or intention of the legislation and has recommended a correction, the Labor Party says it wants to move the goalposts. I think it is totally reasonable that I am guarded about the Labor Party's approach because they are the ones who set the bar at one level for themselves and a higher level for Independents in the first place. It is one rule for them and another for the Independents.
Mr Speaker, I reiterate that the approach recommended by the Electoral Commissioner appears to be the most sensible and straightforward approach to fix this glitch in the Electoral Act and bring the Independent MLAs into line with party members in this place.