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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3771 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

regarding mergers and transfers of engagements; section 318, about restrictions on voluntary winding up; and clause 44 of schedule 3, which is relevant to registration processes.

These are quite involved processes, so I am not sure what guidelines the minister will come up with, beyond the general guidelines of clauses 7 and 8. I would have preferred a bit more time to work through this and the implications, but the government is obviously supporting it, so I will not oppose it.

MR STEFANIAK (5.31): I have some reservations similar to those of Ms Tucker. I note the government is supporting the amendment and that Ms Dundas is trying to address a concern raised by the scrutiny of bills committee. Her reason is: "This unchecked power gives the registrar the scope to play favourites with particular cooperatives or particular officers of cooperatives." I suppose you can be absolutely safe and attempt to cover potential for abuse. That is what she is doing.

It does not surprise me what the registrar told her-that he could not envisage a situation where this would occur. I have been associated with government officials in the ACT in a professional capacity since 1978, regularly since July 1979 when I became a prosecutor, through my experience in this Assembly, and during the two times during that timeframe when I was in private practice. Government officials here are invariably very scrupulous and take great pains to ensure that they do not play favourites. I can imagine that the registrar may have taken a bit of umbrage.

The government is supporting the amendment. I will be interested to see what they come up with. I do want to put on record that I think we are blessed in the territory with our public service, in that people rarely point the bone at them or make accusations of corruption or improper behaviour against them. It has been my experience over 23 years of dealing with local public servants that invariably they do their very best to be scrupulously fair. Nevertheless, Ms Dundas is addressing a concern and making absolutely certain. I suppose there is the occasional bad egg anywhere. I look forward to seeing what the government comes up with.

I note the Chief Minister does not have any idea what he is doing yet. That is understandable. We only got this amendment late yesterday. I will be watching this one with interest.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 469, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 470 to 478, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Schedule 2 agreed to.

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