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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 465 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

And we accept that they should not do that. I accept absolutely that on conscience issues the executive should not impose on any one member of the executive, but the situation could have been avoided. Mr Moore's cabinet colleagues should never have put him in that position. It could have been avoided through the device of a private member's bill.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The member's time has expired.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak to Mr Stanhope's amendments Nos 4 and 5, because the issues are very similar.

Leave granted.

MR STEFANIAK: The amendments are misconceived. On the advice I have, these amendments actually require all members of the executive to approve the making of a regulation, which means that all members of the executive must vote affirmatively in relation to the regulation. There is no latitude for majority decisions, abstentions or absences. In addition, the minister responsible for the act under which the regulation is made and one other minister must sign the regulation.

I am advised that the amendment is actually inconsistent with the scheme in the self-government act. While subsection 22 (2) of the self-government act provides the Assembly with power to make laws with respect to the exercise of powers by the executive, section 22 does not give the Assembly power to make laws inconsistent with the self-government act. Subsection 43 (2) of the self-government act allows the Chief Minister to authorise a minister to act on his or her behalf, or on behalf of any other minister. Now, the Chief Minister has exercised this power, and indeed each minister is also authorised to act on behalf of every other minister, and we regularly see examples of that in terms of the Chief Minister exercising that power and even ministers authorised to act on behalf of other ministers. That is something that just occurs. To the extent that the amendments attempt to require a particular minister to sign a regulation, it dilutes the Chief Minister's powers under our constitutional arrangements, and therefore must fail.

Not only do the amendments fail the test of consistency with the self-government act, but also legislation of this type introduces procedural inflexibility into the government of the territory. It also increases the administrative burden on members of the Assembly. Those disadvantages and the associated expense of administering the act seem not to have been accompanied by a commensurate improvement in the quality of government or Assembly decision-making.

Having regard to the number of regulations that are made under territory laws-since self-government at most about 45 a year-the procedures proposed by Mr Stanhope for making regulations would amount to an inconvenience. They would require all regulations to be considered by cabinet, and an additional record being generated for the approval of all members of the executive. Where a member is not present, through illness or absence, the measure could not proceed.

The practices and procedures that relate to the making of regulations in the Commonwealth, New South Wales and Tasmania have been studied. In all these jurisdictions the usual, if not invariable, practice is for regulations to be made with the

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