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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3807 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Mr Humphries also spoke about the local government model. I have made my view on that very clear. He also mentioned the Northern Territory government, perhaps in an interjection. Our government has worked far more effectively than the Northern Territory government. I think they could learn a huge amount and would seek to do so.

I need to correct Mr Humphries. Abolition of the prayer was not just my work. It was a joint effort with Mr Berry. Mr Berry might have moved the motion-I cannot recall.

Mr Berry: We are getting too old, Michael.

MR MOORE: Yes, we are getting too old. I would certainly recognise it as a joint effort. I do not think we abolished the prayer, I think we did something much better. We need to respect everybody's point of view by allowing people to pray or reflect. Previously we had what other parliaments have-a total lack of respect for people who have beliefs like mine.

Mr Corbell mentioned list systems. I do not disagree with Mr Berry's notion that there is always somebody on the other side proposing that they can do better. That tension is important. I would not want to be interpreted as disagreeing. The general conclusion is that-

Mr Humphries: You will burn in hell.

MR MOORE: Apart from burning in hell, the general conclusion is that our system is developing well. It will continue to develop. But debates of this type in which members reflect on what they are doing are incredibly important. I have been extraordinarily proud to be a member of this Assembly the whole time I have been here. I remain proud. I will always be proud that I served the people in an excellent Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Defamation Bill 1999

Debate resumed from 28 August 2001, on motion by Mr Stefaniak:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (5.29): Mr Speaker, it has long been recognised that the law relating to defamation needs reform. The difficulty for those seeking reform has been to decide what reform should take place and at what level of government should it be directed. Ideally, a national approach should be taken in this important area of law. The Commonwealth legislates to control various aspects of communications in the media and, of course, defamation laws are one part of that broad spectrum.

However, the former Attorney-General, Mr Humphries, recognised that a national approach would not be taken and introduced this bill almost two years ago on 9 December 1999. The bill adopts many of the recommendations set out in the 1995 ACT Community Law Reform Committee report No 10 on defamation. It does not attempt to codify the law relating to defamation but rather makes a number of substantial

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