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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3334 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

I do not know what time they were delivered but I was here until 5.30 and then I went home, which was reasonable, given the fairly heavy week that was ahead of us at that point.

I am in the position of now having to decide clause by clause whether I support the government's amendments or whether I support Mr Berry's amendments. I have not had a chance to compare them; to figure which is in the public interest. Mr Speaker, a lot of people have exhorted me to meet the requirement to get this bill into law, and in order to do that I will have to take an awful lot on faith. I will have to vote on clauses when, I really have to say, I am not sure what the impact of some of these amendments is going to be.

So I think this is a most unsatisfactory situation. I do not suppose that anybody else is in a better position than I am. I notice Ms Tucker has had to resort to putting forward two separate amendments, one against Mr Berry's amendment and another against the minister's amendment. Ms Tucker has to have two shots-one in case Mr Berry's amendment gets up and another in case the minister's amendment gets up.

I am not too sure what sort of legislation we are going to have at the end of the day. I think it is going to be a bit of a fruit salad. At this stage I do not know whether I should be supporting Mr Berry's amendment to clause 2. Quite frankly, I have to be as blunt as that.

MS TUCKER (11.05): Like Mr Kaine, I am not clear what the government's argument is. I heard what Mr Smyth said and I am trying, as Mr Kaine is, to understand the amendments that the government gave us late last night.

I understand that the government's position is that if we do not proceed now this matter will not be dealt with. Is it correct that we cannot adjourn consideration of this matter even for a few hours until a later time this day?

Mr Smyth: I would prefer to do it now.

MS TUCKER: Mr Smyth says he would prefer to do it now. I would like Mr Smyth to explain-I am sure the Assembly would give him leave to do so-why he thinks that is reasonable process and why it is reasonable to inflict this program on members of this Assembly.

As Mr Kaine just explained, we received these amendments last night and we have not had time to look at them. It is just an appalling process. This is very important legislation and we all want to get it up. I am working with the government on this. All we are asking for is a little bit of time to look at the extra work that the government has put in at the last minute. As responsible legislators, we have been put in an impossible situation.

If I cannot get support from the government to have consideration of the bill put off to a later time this day-and I hope Mr Smyth is considering doing that-then we are going to have to ask for very full explanations on every amendment; and the Assembly is going to have to give people leave to speak more than once if explanations are necessary.

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