Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (14 June) . . Page.. 1720 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

I remember an occasion when Mr Moore came into the Assembly many years ago when I was a minister and made claims in quite a different area, and I almost instantly said, okay, we need an inquiry, and the Todd inquiry came about. I think that was an acknowledgment that there was an issue sufficiently important to have an inquiry. Now, if I had said, "No, that's nonsense; we are not going to do anything," and took no notice of you, what would have proceeded from there? Just how far do we go? I do not know.

Things certainly change and perhaps we might need to take a step back. Mr Kaine says we should think about codifying it. Well, how do you write that into legislation? I like the idea, but is it just practice then? Someone soon, Mr Speaker, will write up the legislative procedures and we may go from that. Perhaps after 12 years we are getting to that stage.

They are very interesting points and we need to carry on this debate, perhaps after the election. We do need to sit down, perhaps in committees informally, and perhaps also in this place, and debate these issues further so that we can define exactly how the Westminster system works in this little part of that large complex of Westminster systems. Let's carry on the debate at a future time.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer): Mr Speaker, I was going to exercise a right under standing order 47 to speak again, but I think I should just seek leave to speak again.

Mr Wood: I don't like it, but, anyway.

Leave granted.

MR HUMPHRIES: Well, you might not like it, but I think it is worth doing two things, emphasising what I said before to make it clear to members what it was that was being said. Since having made my remarks, members have been rushing forward to defend the right of the executive to make certain decisions and to exercise power in certain matters over the hands of the Assembly as a whole. I am gratified by the support for my remarks, but I have to emphasise something I said as well in my remarks which needs to be understood.

In a sense the passage of this legislation today is irrelevant because the power of the Assembly to require an executive to conduct inquiries under the Inquiries Act is already clear. It already has that power. It has that power because the convention was changed last year. The fact that I have got up today and argued that the Assembly should not have that power does not mean that it does not have that power.

It has been something of a shock to me today to sit here and listen to people, who just a few months ago were quite prepared to force the government's hand to conduct this inquiry, now saying that it is terribly important that the executive be insulated from certain decisions of the Legislative Assembly.

Mr Stanhope: You could have said no. There is absolutely no logic in your argument.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .