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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2314 ..

MR MOORE: Mr Stanhope says that it is a problem that we need to address now. That is something that is interesting and is worthy of debate, but that is only an attempt to try to put off an important decision that can be made now.

Mr Quinlan: What is the plan, Michael?

MR MOORE: I will take that interjection. There has been so much about a conspiracy theory going around here. It was there again with that interjection from Mr Quinlan. I am going to answer that question. I have to admit to a conspiracy, Mr Speaker. The conspiracy started when I went to the last election and I put in my platform that I would introduce legislation of this kind. The plan is to deliver on that, Mr Speaker. That is exactly what it is about.

Mr Stanhope probably did not realise the impact of what he was saying, or I misinterpreted it, when he suggested that we ought to abide by a majority report of a committee of this Assembly. No, Mr Stanhope, we should consider it-

Mr Stanhope: I did not say that.

MR MOORE: Mr Stanhope says that he did not say that. In that case, I will back away from the argument but I will make a broad point. I will not apply it to Mr Stanhope, but I will make the broad point that Assembly committee reports, whether they are majority or minority, inform the Assembly and we take them seriously, but it is the Assembly that makes the decisions. I think that is a very important principle that we must hold to. Mr Speaker, this is important legislation. It is about having more open government, and we ought to move on it today.

MR OSBORNE: (12.21) My fear with all bills of this type is that often good pieces of legislation that start out with a bipartisan attitude being adopted end up in a fight in the Assembly, with accusations and finger pointing snowballing, and, unfortunately, a lot of the goodwill disappears and one side ends up pulling out because of something that someone else said. I have to say from my position as chairman of the justice committee that this piece of legislation has been one on which all of us have been very united. The Labor Party, Mr Hird and Mr Kaine have been very positive about wanting openness.

There were two contentious issues. One was over the length of time. I favoured six years, the committee favoured six years, Mr Hird favoured 10 years, and the committee recommended six years. The other bone of contention was the issue of retrospectivity. But they were two very distinct issues and one was not linked to the other. That was not my understanding of it, but Mr Hargreaves, Mr Hird or Mr Kaine may wish to rise to clarify that. The important thing was that we worked together because we could all see the merits of this legislation. The important thing for me is that we learn from much of what has happened in the last few years and that we do endeavour to be a parliament which is open and accountable, not one that just says that it is and does not deliver on that. I must admit to being somewhat disappointed that there has been so much angst this morning because I think that all of us in here can see the merits of this piece of legislation.

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