Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 March 2008) . . Page.. 456 ..
MR STEFANIAK: I table the following paper:
Regulatory Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2007—Briefing note prepared by Keren Davies, Legal Counsel, Telstra, dated Monday, 3 March 2008.
I note in the running sheet that it has got that I will be opposing this clause and this part. That is one way we could do it, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, if people were agreeable. That would take this clause out and then it would have to come back in with the exemptions. I just wonder whether it might not be better, in the first instance at least, to simply adjourn debate on this bill to see if these matters can be fixed up. I probably doubt if they could be by Thursday, even though I have been given a series of amendments, which I think are somewhat complex. Unless there is particular urgency for this particular bill to go through, I would think it is something that could come back at the end of March and the next sittings with any necessary amendments.
I am really concerned that a lot of consumers are going to be put out here, that people might lose their mobile numbers and that there are these unintended consequences which apparently do not apply interstate because of those exemptions that I mentioned. At least if those exemptions were dealt with, I would hope that we could come back in a few weeks time with the major points covered. If there is anything further which could be looked at in a more leisurely fashion, that would be fine.
This is something that is going to affect a lot of people in our community as it is, and I am just concerned that they are unwarranted consequences. The people who saw me are the same as those who saw the Attorney-General. They have no issue with what is here. It is simply the fact that, as it stands without exemptions, there will be big problems, which really will impact on consumers. Surely that is not something we want.
In legislation like this we want to protect consumers. We want to make it as easy as possible for them. We want to put necessary imposts on businesses. This is especially aimed at fly-by-nighters to get them to do the right thing, which is what it does, but there are also these unintended consequences, which I point out briefly to the Assembly now. Even if debate were adjourned for only for a couple of weeks, I think we should be able to sort it out. If the Attorney-General could do it even earlier, fantastic. The best thing in the circumstances is to adjourn the debate and, accordingly, I move that the debate be adjourned.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.40): The government will not be supporting the adjournment of debate. I will outline the reasons for that now. The Telstra corporation contacted me by correspondence within the last month, and I had a very prompt exchange of correspondence with them. As Mr Stefaniak has indicated, they have since met with me. They met with me yesterday, and I understand they also met with Mr Stefaniak. The issues raised by Telstra relate to cooling-off periods for certain products or contracts entered into that may be obtained through telemarketing activity of one sort.
MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): Mr Corbell, I have just been advised that we cannot debate the actual question. The question needs to be put on whether the debate be adjourned.