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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1921 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

community. Until somebody can convince me that there is some community benefit out of this, I am going to vote against it.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (8.36): Mr Speaker, I think Mr Kaine is quite right, but in a way Ms Tucker is right about this as well. As I was sitting next to Mr Stanhope when we were on ABC Radio the other morning he made the point that the amendments to the Electoral Act were dealing with the advantage that Independent MLAs have over others. So I sat down and I thought, "How do you resolve that problem?" It is something that Mr Stanhope raised and which I took seriously.

I looked at how Ms Tucker has solved that problem and I have determined that the downside of solving the problem the way Ms Tucker has done it here is, as Mr Kaine identifies, that you give a greater disadvantage to some of the players or you leave yourself and the other parties with an advantage that the Independent MLAs then no longer have. Remember, this legislation already removes their ability to have a party. So it already has taken one step. This legislation already takes away one advantage that they have, and there are a series of advantages to having a party.

So I went over and I looked at a ballot paper from Ginninderra. I thought it was a very interesting example. On the ballot paper from Ginninderra we have one of these groups, the Osborne Independent Group, and underneath there was Dave Rugendyke and Hilary Back. In the next column were Cheryl Hill and Derek Hill. The Osborne Independent Group have the same advantages of a party of being able to take a name already well recognised in the community, Osborne's name, which he has effectively lent to Mr Rugendyke; just the same way as the Greens lend that to Shane Rattenbury and others in that electorate, and the Labor Party lend it to Wayne Berry and Jon Stanhope, and so on. But the Hills missed out. What you are saying correctly here is why should the Hills have missed out on that advantage? I think you are right.

So I asked my senior adviser to prepare an amendment today to allow them to have the same right as the rest of us to have their name in a group. It could be called, if you like, the Hill group. Unfortunately, Cheryl Hill has passed away. Nevertheless, it is a reasonable example. The name, the Hill Independent Group if you like, could be at the top of the paper. As soon as somebody picks up a ballot paper they read across. If somebody wants to be grouped, if they want to lend their name, they can, or even if the Hills want to lend their name in Molonglo they can do that as well. Now, that seemed like a sensible solution.

Unfortunately, because we only had two days to prepare the amendments, we ran into some problems. My senior adviser checked with the Electoral Commissioner who identified a couple of problems with that and we were not able to resolve those problems within the timeframe.

I will oppose your solution because I think it is the wrong solution, but I am prepared to go back and look at this. I think we can find a solution that provides an equitable provision that does not disadvantage those non-MLA Independents who wish to be grouped and does not give an advantage to parties by having them the only ones above the line. That is a much more equitable way to go about it, and that is why I will be opposing your legislation. I will do further work, which I am quite happy to do, and

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