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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (14 June) . . Page.. 1722 ..

Mr Wood: Come on. we don't want a rehash now. We were generous to you. Be fair. We were generous letting you speak again, but do not go for 15 minutes.

MR HUMPHRIES: Okay. I am not going for 15 minutes. If you stop interrupting I will be finished in about another 30 seconds.

Mr Wood: Okay. I am watching.

MR HUMPHRIES: Fine. So subclause (2) makes it clear the executive must exercise this power. It must act as required by the legislature. So if an executive fails to do that it can be forced in a court of law to do so, because to fail to do so would be a breach of the law, not merely a contempt of the Assembly. I simply say that to make it clear that this is a step further than that which was taken by the Assembly before, but it is qualitatively no different, Mr Speaker.

MR RUGENDYKE (12.08), in reply: It has been a very interesting debate and I thank members for their contributions. I think it was important to bring this bill forward in this form in order to flesh out things that have come to light and have been considered over the last several months.

As you recall, this bill was initiated as a result of the government's refusal on two occasions to accept motions, carried with the majority will of the Assembly, to conduct an inquiry into disability services in the ACT. Kicking and screaming, they were dragged to the table to initiate this inquiry. As it turns out from things that are coming out of the Gallop inquiry, the call for that inquiry has been vindicated.

Mr Speaker, that aside, it is important to note the things that have come out of this debate today. The debate had to be had. The speakers, Mr Kaine, Mr Moore, Ms Tucker, all members, and both major parties, have made valid points. The advice of the Clerk has been important in this debate. So, Mr Speaker, rather than just withdraw this bill from the notice paper, as could have been done, it has been important to have the debate. It has been important for the debate to continue, and it has been important for members to recognise the need to examine dilemmas such as this, given the different aspect of our Westminster system that we have here in the territory. We see many variations to traditional Westminster aspects of governance. We see a difference in the way the health minister is a part of the cabinet.

Mr Berry: Wait until tomorrow. It will be different.

MR RUGENDYKE: It may well be, but it does highlight the need for examination of the way we do business. Do we need an addendum to House of Representatives Practice? It may be appropriate. The differences in the Westminster system we have here certainly need to be recorded.

Mr Speaker, I thank members for their comments. I urge members to continue this debate in order to ensure that the guidelines are there to let us know where the line ought to be drawn regarding the separation of powers. The separation of powers is a very important aspect of the Westminster system and it is important not to interfere with that.

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