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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5162 ..

Government Procurement (Principles) Guideline Amendment Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 27 August 2003, on motion by Ms Dundas:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Motion (by Mr Quinlan ) proposed:

That the debate be now adjourned.

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 7

Noes 8

Mr Berry

Mr Quinlan

Mrs Burke

Mr Pratt

Mr Corbell

Mr Stanhope

Mr Cornwell

Mr Smyth

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Wood

Mrs Cross

Mr Stefaniak

Ms MacDonald

Ms Dundas

Ms Tucker

Question so resolved in the negative.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (8.52): I was not trying to be difficult or mess the house around by wanting to adjourn this. I wanted to adjourn it because both the bill and the amendments that are being telegraphed today I think are going to create a very undesirable situation, and I just hope that some time during this debate reason will prevail.

We have here a situation where the government is being required to show a preference to open-source computing software. The government does already consider open-source software. It is required to get best value for money and it is required to consider all suppliers.

If we accepted this notion in this legislation, we would be distorting the competitive process and we would, I think, be flying in the face of national competition policy, which we are also required to follow. But more importantly, we are probably not serving many of the providers of open-source software. Many of the providers of open-source software, including universities, are not in favour of this sort of provision.

The way that a lot of open-source software works is that somebody who has a good idea and some talent can build a system. But the only way they can virtually break into the market is to provide it as open source for everybody to use with a view that, at a later stage, that same software will become proprietary software in order that they, as developers, will become the providers of proprietary software. It is a way of leading in to the industry. But if anybody's code can be taken, can be altered, can be in any way used, it won't necessarily favour those people that in fact create open-source software. There may be some that are thinking short term at the moment and want that sort of preference, that preference that distorts competition. But it is not going to be effective in the long run.

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