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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (1 March) . . Page.. 504 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Party's revenues in the ACT are the proceeds of rent from the tenants of its premises. The rest of its proceeds of course are donations it receives in its secret 250 Club.

So there is a significant conflict of interest here for the Liberals. One has to ask whether they should be participating in this debate at all. There is a question about whether or not it is appropriate for the Liberal Party to introduce this legislation, having regard to the conflict of interest position which the Liberal Party insists that the Labor Party should be taking in relation to licensed clubs and gaming.

Mr Stefaniak: It has never worried you in the licensed clubs debate.

MR STANHOPE: It is not we who have put this position of principle, Attorney. It is you and your party that put it ad nauseam, time and time again. Now that we are debating the Leases (Commercial and Retail) Bill, we must acknowledge that the Liberal Party in the ACT receives at least two-thirds of its funds from tenants who rent its premises, so members of the Liberal Party, if they are not to be hypocrites, should not be participating in the debate.

Over and above that, having regard to the position put by the Liberal Party and other members of this place in relation to the proceeds of gaming and the position put by those principled people on the other side of this place that the Labor Party, as a result of its receipt of funds from gaming, should donate to charity an amount equal to its receipts from gaming in the ACT-I am sure you all remember that debate and I am sure you all remember imposing on the Labor Party and the Labor Club the penalty that we have to donate to charity, dollar for dollar, amounts received by the Labor Party from gaming-I expect somebody on the other side, perhaps Mr Rugendyke, Mr Osborne or Mr Moore, to move an amendment that the Liberal Party donate to charity a dollar for every dollar it receives from rent, if the Liberal Party and those who support them in the matter are not to be seen for the utter hypocrites that they are. Having got that out of the way, we will now proceed. The Labor Party can debate this matter with a clear conscience.

The bills we are discussing today go to the heart of our economic wellbeing, as they do more than just govern the relationship between lessors and tenants. These laws will also be used by corporate investors to determine whether or not to invest in commercial property in the ACT and by others to determine whether or not they can afford to start a small business in a commercial property owned by someone else.

If the balance is tipped too far in favour of the tenant, corporate owners may decide to invest elsewhere. If the balance is tipped too far in favour of the lessor, prospective tenants may decide the terms and conditions are too restrictive for them. It is important that serious efforts be made to strike the right balance.

The Attorney-General presented this bill on 18 October 2000 after a gestation period of more than five years. Mr Rugendyke presented his private members bill on the same topic in May last year. Mr Rugendyke, in presenting his bill, said that it had been a year in the making, but the Assembly was not informed what consultation had been carried out.

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