Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 3414 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, we are talking here about the space of one week-seven days. The committee apparently is close to a report. It is close to the point of being able to say, "We can tell the Assembly what we think about this matter which has been referred to us."Yet the government appears to be reluctant to provide just seven days.
There is another factor in this matter which I think is worth putting on the table-and I am happy for the minister, or one of the ministers, to correct me if I am wrong about this. I understand the government's original timetable was to have this legislation in place and operating by 1 January 2003. I further understand-again I am happy to be corrected-that the government has now deferred that start date from 1 January to 1 July 2003, a whole further six months.
That decision to defer the start of the legislation has been made subsequent to the referral of this matter to the Planning and Environment Committee. If the Planning and Environment Committee has had that quite significant change in circumstances-
Mr Wood: He will not agree to that.
MR HUMPHRIES: I know he will not agree. I can see that he will not agree.
Mr Wood: Your facts are wrong.
MR HUMPHRIES: I am happy to be corrected on those facts.
Mr Wood: Time is up!
MR HUMPHRIES: If the government still intends to have the legislation in place by 1 January 2003, then obviously it is looking at a tight timetable, but I would still urge the government to consider whether one further week makes that much difference.
If the government intends to put the legislation in place by 1 January, I see no reason why it cannot be debated in the December sitting-a month from now. It could be debated in the December sitting. We could have a debate in light of the facts.
It is clearly the case that the committee is not ready to report today. If the Assembly requires the committee to report today, there will not be a report. So what does the Assembly propose to do-have no report from the committee? That would be dangerous, I would suggest. For whatever reason, the committee has thought fit to make this recommendation to the Assembly. I cannot see any compelling reason why it cannot be allowed to report next Tuesday, as it has requested.
MRS DUNNE (11.33), in reply: As nobody else wants to speak, I will close the debate. Mr Corbell stands in high dudgeon, making claims that the end of civilisation is about to come upon us, and that this motion is without consultation with the committee. It was clearly discussed in the committee on Friday, and discussed with committee members yesterday.
The aim of this motion is to provide some leeway to the committee. In discussion with the secretary, I asked him to draft it in these terms-that we extend the reporting date until next week.