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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 383 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

virtue of the fact that the report has been available for over two months now, but has not yet been published.

I might say, as an aside, that I have some quibble with the advice that has been tabled. I think that the Government Solicitor would probably admit that there is some debate about the subject. I consider that the fact that the Parliamentary Privileges Act of 1987 and the self-government act of 1988 were passed before the Inquiries Act of 1991 should mean that the Assembly expressly meant to override any presumption in favour of privilege not attaching to such reports when it passed the Inquiries Act in 1991.

However, the purpose of this bill is not to enter into a legal debate about the terms of the act. The point of the bill is to fix the act so it is absolutely clear that, when this situation again arises, and it will again arise, that the chief minister of the day has the power to put that document in the public arena at the first available opportunity. That is the intention of this bill, Mr Speaker.

What it does, in order to effect that intention, is to insert additional words into the act that make it clear that tabling a document under section 14A has the effect of tabling it in the Assembly, and of it being published by the Assembly, by virtue of its being released under that section.

I hope that whatever debate occurs in this place about the Gallop inquiry, and its aftermath, will not overshadow the very clear need for the Assembly to be able to ensure that this situation does not arise again. If I depart from the question of whether an injunction ought to have applied to a report of this kind-that is a different and further debate-it is clear to me, and I hope to every member of this place, that reports of this kind should be in the public arena at the earliest opportunity. In that light, Mr Speaker, I hope that this bill will attract support from members of the Assembly when it is debated. I commend the bill to the house.

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

Local and regional news services

MS GALLAGHER (12.23): I move the motion standing in my name on the notice paper, which reads:

(1) That this Assembly notes with regret the recent closure of the Prime and TEN Capital local news services and the impact that this has had on the local community; and

(2) Further that this Assembly notes that the Stanhope Government will make a submission to the inquiry into regional news services by the Australian Broadcasting Authority following the closure of these news services.

This motion relates to the closure of two regional broadcasters in the ACT region, and the inquiry by the Australian Broadcasting Authority into the closure of a number of regional commercial television news services. It relates to the obligation businesses have to their communities, particularly when they receive substantial taxpayers' subsidies and protection of their market.

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