Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 September 2005) . . Page.. 3390 ..
but—and it concerns me—is this about trees? Come on! Powers and search warrants—what are we coming to?
One would surely have to ask: on what grounds would a person be required to ask for permission from the conservator to remove or cut down a tree? Is it for the protection of the person against action, be it from a neighbour or from government or whoever, given that no permanent tree register exists at this time? Is it simply power playing or is it over-governance, as I alluded to? This legislation—and I will finish on this—is now embarrassing, and the government should seriously put down their pride and repeal this bill. We will not be supporting the bill.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs, and Acting Minister for Education and Training) (4.50), in reply: I will close this debate at the in-principle stage. I thank members for their contribution to the debate.
I must say that much of that contribution was made in apparent ignorance of the fact that the legislation that we are debating today certainly is a new scheme, a new scheme that was born out of the existing interim legislation that was legislation of the last Liberal government. In fact, it was the product of the then Minister for Urban Services, the now Leader of the Opposition, Mr Brendan Smyth.
It has been a matter of some amusement to me, I have to say, to see Liberal speaker after Liberal speaker attack the legislation of their now leader when he was Minister for Urban Services and the scheme which he put in place. I notice that the last three speakers for the opposition have each spoken about this dastardly, draconian, uninterpretable AS4373, the Australian standard in relation to the pruning of trees. Who introduced it? Who introduced Australian standard 4373 into our tree legislation and the schemes that operate in the ACT? Mr Mulcahy smirks, slaps his chest and says, “Not me,” but he knows it was his now leader.
I notice that the Liberal speakers who spoke in this debate are predominantly in the non-Smyth faction. One after another, Mrs Dunne, Mr Mulcahy and Mr Seselja, the non-Smyth faction, the dream team, got up and seriatim, in serial, bagged the process which their now leader put in place in the interim tree scheme in the ACT, including down to the detail of this obscure Australian standard 4373 that nobody will know about and that we have to letterbox everybody about. Who introduced Australian standard 4373 into the tree legislation of the ACT? Mr Brendan Smyth, the then minister.
It would be interesting to reflect, at our leisure, on the contributions of members of the opposition in this particular debate on the legislation which we are debating today, which is the replacement legislation for legislation introduced by their leader and which is legislation that refines the scheme. I congratulate the previous government for the introduction of the interim tree protection legislation; it was vital at the time. The Liberal Party, in government, recognised the importance of a tree protection regime. It introduced that as interim tree protection legislation. We have taken four years of experience of the operation and application of that particular scheme and we have introduced refinements to it.