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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 381 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Minor amendments might seem to be of minor concern in the ACT but, for those people who have to live next door to buildings that overshadow their blocks, or reduce their privacy, it is a major issue. I am aware that the new Labor government is promising to overhaul the ACT's planning system, so I hope that they will support this amendment, which I think will promote better decisions about development applications.

Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Inquiries Amendment Bill 2002

Mr Humphries , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (12.13): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

As members are well aware, yesterday the report of the Gallop board of inquiry was tabled in this place. Members are also well aware that the report was, in fact, in the hands of the Chief Minister on 18 December. Therefore its publication for the broader community did not occur for more than two months after the report was originally received by the ACT government.

You, Mr Speaker, drew attention yesterday to the legal proceedings-an injunction of the Supreme Court-that, at least temporarily, prevented the release of the report. However, Mr Speaker, even once that issue was resolved, as it was, I understand, earlier this month, an issue arose as to whether the report could be published in the public arena by being tabled by the Chief Minister. This issue revolved around the question of whether parliamentary privilege attached to such a report because it had been published outside the Legislative Assembly.

Mr Speaker, let me read to members the words of section 14A of the Inquiries Act. Section 14A deals with the tabling of reports and making reports public before they are tabled in the Legislative Assembly. Section 14A (1) says that a copy of the report can be laid before the Legislative Assembly. Section 14A (2) provides that a person can make a report, or part of a report, public, whether or not the Assembly is sitting-I would refer this to the Chief Minister-and whether or not it has been laid before the Assembly.

That is the power that one might expect the Chief Minister might evoke in ordinary circumstances, in order to put a report into the public arena during a non-sitting period of this Assembly.

Section 14A (3) goes on to say, where a report or part of a report is made public by the Chief Minister before it is laid before the Legislative Assembly, the report or part, "attracts the same privileges and immunities as if the report or part had been laid before the Assembly".

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