Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2069 ..
MR HARGREAVES (5.53): Mr Speaker, I am devastated by that absolutely savage attack on my person by the shadow cemeteries minister, Mrs Cross. I cannot tell you how upset I am about that.
Mrs Cross was dead right when she said this is a similar bill to that put in last year by the former government. In fact, with the exception of the post-burial tenure, it is a photocopy of the same bill. She is almost right. We talk about it being rushed through. It cannot possibly have been rushed through. This baby has been 18 months in the making. We had the discussion 18 months ago and we have had it again today.
We have had it, and we have had the briefings on it. When we talked about whether or not Mr Smyth rushed it through, Mrs Cross was firmly ensconced in the Phillip Traders Association, doing wonderful things, I am sure. In the meantime, I was sitting in my office on the first floor having my arm stuck up my back by people from the department wanting to rush it through. We did not do it; we would not wear it. Why? Because we wanted to see the regulations first. That did not happen, but there was a process for it.
I must have my glasses checked. I do not seem to recall Mrs Cross being here when we were debating it earlier on-so I am surprised that she would have such a great recollection of what I said. Mr Speaker, I do not think you will find a better advocate of the committee system than I have been in recent times. It saddens me to think that Mrs Cross thinks I might have a less than appropriate view of the role of the committee system.
In fact, I have just returned from overseas, where I have been extolling the virtues of our committee system to those wise old men in Westminster. I boasted quite heavily on that. One of the worries I have about the committee system, however, is that sometimes the system can be abused and sometimes it can be used frivolously. We need to be a bit more careful.
Mr Speaker, with reference to the cemeteries bill: as I mentioned earlier, this is an issue with which we are all genuinely concerned, and it is an emotive issue. We all know that.
Mr Wood: I discovered that today!
MR HARGREAVES: That is right. The closer I get to needing the bill, the more sensitive I am to making sure that it is there properly.
Mr Speaker, the round-table process is the one for which I wish to advocate most strongly. In my view, it would be a better process if we could get all the people who are concerned about the regulations and unhappy about bits in the act around the table to start talking about this and doing it properly.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, this is a motion about sending it to a committee.
MR HARGREAVES: Yes, I know that. I am opposing the sending of it to that committee. What I am suggesting is an alternative. The round-table process is a better one. We used that process when the home detention bill came before the house. It was