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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3121 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

There was nothing inadvertent about it. It is unfortunate the Minister for Urban Services is not here. I remind members that in the course of the preparation of the debate on burnouts it was the minister who said to me, "You realise that this legislation affects the burnout legislation?" I said, "Yes, I do. There is nothing accidental about that." The only difference between the two pieces of legislation is that in one the police could confiscate on suspicion and in the other they can do so if they witness road rage. Everything else is the same.

We are vesting in the police the power to confiscate property, when that power should be properly vested in the courts. I made that absolutely clear in my speech against the burnout legislation, again when we debated the road rage legislation and again when we moved the amendment to remove these provisions.

What we are seeing here, in my view, is a cheap political trick trying to sensationalise the issue just before an election. I think it is a ridiculous thing. The standing orders clearly make provision for people to bring forward legislation and, once it is dealt with, it is dealt with. We can then bring it back in the next calendar year, which is plenty of time. It is more than coincidental that with an election around the corner we have this right-wing approach.

Mr Speaker, I draw your attention to standing order 136. You may disallow any motion or amendment which is the same in substance as any question during the calendar year. I ask you to disallow this attempt by Mr Rugendyke. I do not think it is necessary. We have dealt with it. If Mr Rugendyke wants to make an issue out of it, he can make an election issue out of it. Go to the election of it, get the mandate from the people, and bring it back next calendar year.

Mr Rugendyke said that something inadvertent happened. I do not think I could have been clearer. Mr Moore, when he supported my changes, indicated to me that he saw the similarity between the two pieces of legislation. Members in this place were not fooled by something. There was no trickery.

I would argue against the suspension of standing orders. Under standing order 136, I do not think we as an Assembly should allow this debate to proceed.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (10.42): The last time Mr Rugendyke sought to suspend standing orders I opposed such a course. He had not given us any warning. After discussing it with him this time, I concede that the circumstances are different, although he is bringing on a piece of legislation that was debated earlier this year. Because of the circumstances I am prepared to change my view and allow him to present his bill.

I am opposed to the legislation, but where possible we have always tried to allow members to debate issues. That has been a hallmark of this Assembly from the very beginning. Allowing that opportunity now will also give us the opportunity to explain why this is such a silly bill. Because we are in the last two weeks of sitting, I think it is appropriate that Mr Rugendyke have the opportunity to present his legislation.

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