Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 4337 ..
Mr Corbell: Is 19 November 2008 still your position?
MR SMYTH: Our position has been quite clear. We took it to the last election. We said that smoking has to be phased out. I have told groups such as ClubsACT and the AHA that it will be phased out. What we said, though, and what we took to the electorate and will stand by is that it needs to be done fairly. It has to be done in a way that brings the entire community together, rather than dividing the community in the way that the Labor Party is doing now.
Some of the groups that we have spoken to wanted the exemption to be for 10 years, to take it out to 2013, and some of them were happy with 2010. Others, of course, wanted the phasing out to apply much earlier and there is a valid case for doing it much earlier. We followed a path that took the middle road that gave some certainty by saying, firstly, that it would end on a certain date and, secondly, that those affected had time to make arrangements to guarantee their business or club.
What do we have from the minister? The minister's certainty on this issue has lasted from his press release some time this morning, 11 or 12 o'clock this morning, until now, 20 minutes past 4, when his word, his press release, his ambition, his ideal of December 2006 has been blown out by his admission that he will go away, rethink and bring the date back. That is not fair to people. That is not fair to businesses.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, we are debating Mrs Cross's bill, you know.
MR SMYTH: We certainly are debating Mrs Cross's bill, Mr Speaker, and I can imagine why you would intercept on behalf of the minister, but nothing is going to save the minister on this one.
MR SPEAKER: No, I am not intervening on behalf of anybody. I am just reminding you to be relevant.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, the issue is smoking. We are talking about the dates and the things that Mr Corbell has done today. I know that it is hard to believe that all this could happen in the course of a single day, but that is the case.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, let me lay it on the line: we are talking about a bill that has been put forward in this place and I expect you to remain relevant while the debate continues.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, the bill bans smoking in public places. It provides a series of offences: that people shall not smoke in enclosed places, that they shall stop smoking if directed to do so by an authorised person and that an occupier shall not let persons smoke on their premises or provide smoking accoutrements. The bill also has an application date and we are discussing the date and the cynical way in which the minister has behaved over the last couple of days, particularly today, in what he has been saying and doing. I think that people have a right to know what the minister has been saying and doing and I will do everything I can to bring that to their attention.