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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3070 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

I am sure we could all stand here for hours and argue about what we see to be the pluses and minuses and people would have different views.

Obviously the bill will fail to be passed today. This is going to be an election issue and, as I have said, it will be the first thing that we will be forced to face when we come back after the election. Hopefully I and most other members will be here after October to discuss this issue, and I look forward to continuing the debate with them.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.47): In closing the debate, I thank members for their comments. This has been a lengthy debate and, from my understanding of the numbers, it appears that the bill will go down. I think that is most unfortunate.

I will address a few of the points that have been made. Some members opposite were saying things like the Chief Minister needs to show leadership and that this legislation is an abrogation of responsibility. I think that is clearly a nonsense. In fact, only recently the Chief Minister stood up to the Prime Minister on this very issue, and that certainly shows considerable leadership.

I am amazed that a number of members opposite, including Ms Tucker, talked about this being a matter for the government and not the community. Whatever happened to consultation, whatever happened to seeking the views of the community? What better way would there be to deal with an issue as difficult as this than to ask the community by way of a referendum what they want and to indicate that the result would be binding on the government?

Obviously the Labor Party supports both a shooting gallery and a supervised heroin trial. The Liberal Party has made it quite clear that, were this matter to go to referendum, we would be bound, regardless of what our personal thoughts might be, to accept what the community told us. Even if the community voted 50.1 per cent in favour of, say, both questions and 49.99 per cent were against them, we would implement the wishes of the majority. That is why you have a referendum.

Mr Corbell read at length from Labor Party policy, and I found it quite interesting. In fact, he should send me a copy. I would be fascinated to see what the Labor Party policies are.

Mr Moore: They are on the web.

MR STEFANIAK: I am not very good with computers, Michael, but I might be able to get that off the web. But it was a fascinating dissertation on Labor Party policy. He neglected to say, though, that it has been my party's policy since 1999 that we not have a shooting gallery or a heroin trial until such time as the matter is put to the people by referendum, and that is exactly what we are trying to do.

The Liberal Party makes absolutely no bones about the fact that we are a very broad church. We have differing views on this topic and that is painfully obvious to all and sundry. The former Chief Minister and the current Urban Services Minister felt so strongly about the shooting gallery that they voted with the Labor Party and the rest of us

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