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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3706 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

argument that, if we have signed up to a nationally uniform scheme, we should keep faith as a party to that uniform arrangement.

Having said that, it may also be that the passage of these amendments would help keep the pressure on the council to ensure that it does, in fact, produce a uniform law. The amendments the council propose incorporate this provision and go much further, on such matters as:

warnings about the time it will take consumers to repay the credit;

the establishment of "best practice" audit systems to ensure that consumers' financial statements are correct; and

the requirement for credit providers to require consumers to disclose all credit accounts held, the balances of those accounts and credit limits imposed.

These and the other matters being considered are all eminently sensible and will be supported by the Labor Party at this in-principle stage and certainly as part of the model bill, particularly as those amendments will supersede Mr Rugendyke's bill.

That is the position we find ourselves in. This is good law; that is not disputed. It is a good proposal that Mr Rugendyke has put forward. The Labor Party very much supports this legislation. Mr Rugendyke did ask earlier today what the Labor Party's position on this was. I indicated to him that we supported the legislation, and we certainly do. We support it here, and we support it in principle.

The Attorney has since indicated-and I thought-that the government was initially proposing to oppose it, but he is now indicating that the government will support the bill at the in-principle stage and then move to adjourn. That is also the position the Labor Party will take on the bill of Mr Rugendyke. It is good legislation, and he can be commended for it. We support it in principle and congratulate him for bringing it forward, and we will support the government in adjourning the bill.

MS TUCKER (10.21): We have spoken on this issue already. There is a consumer protection issue here that everyone seems to be supportive of. The other issue in the debate is how we as a legislature relate to national agreements and national ministerial meetings.

The Greens have said before in this case that we believe national agreements are a useful way to develop approaches to shared problems but that we do not agree that they should become an enforcement mechanism for the lowest common denominator. That is what our government is arguing-that we cannot close this gap in the legislation until and unless the code is amended in some way. If the argument that the minister put is fear about the national code, I do not support it. If that is what the Labor Party are saying, I do not support them either.

The important questions to answer here are that we have responsibility-

Mr Berry: There is going to be a national scheme in November, Kerrie.

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