Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1600 ..
we should not be able to do anything. That is not realistic. We need this new legislation. It modernises the system of the reality of the world we live in today. We need it up and running, most importantly for Bimberi. I have had two children since consultation began on this. That is the length of time the opposition have had to get their minds around this. When this consultation started, my 2½-year-old-son had not even been born. Since then, I have had him and I have had another baby!
Mr Mulcahy interjecting—
MS GALLAGHER: Well, I am not sure whether that is a reflection on me, but what I am saying is that that is the amount of time that has been spent on consultation and discussion. We need to move on, and we will not be supporting this motion.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.24): I am not sure that I heard about this motion first from Mrs Dunne. In fact, I do not think so. But I gave this serious thought, because this is a really huge bill. Because it is such a huge bill, my office has been on the ball about it ever since the first draft came out. Remember, there was an exposure draft on this bill that was around for quite a lot of time. I know that Ms Gallagher has gone through the process of consultation. That, of course, is a voluntary thing whether you, as an MLA, decide to participate in consultation like that. This is an issue about which the Greens are extremely and passionately concerned, so we have been involved from the very beginning.
I also want to say that, as a result of our concern about this issue, we have had consultations with pretty well every community organisation that we can think of that does work on these issues. We have consulted with the minister and staff and certainly with key public officials, because it is a really important issue. The legislation is one part of the issue, and a very important part. In terms of me and my office, to look at it from a personal perspective, I do not need this committee to conduct an inquiry. I believe there is enough information in the public domain. I have not yet heard from Mrs Dunne what her policy concerns are with the bill.
When we got this new bill that Ms Gallagher tabled today, I had a look at that and I thought, “Well, this is very thick. I wonder if this justifies a committee inquiry.” But, of course, after looking at that bill, I see that it is what it says it is—consequential amendments. Most of the amendments are purely technical, and although it is new information, it does not require an inquiry.
My staff have been working on this case for a couple of years now, and every time they have required assistance, they have always had ready answers from the minister’s office. There has not been any reluctance to assist us. I cannot agree to a committee inquiry to help the Liberals get around this issue now. I know that Mrs Dunne has, in the past, had great interest in this issue. When I first came into the Assembly Mrs Dunne asked a lot of questions in committee hearings and so on. However, I do not know that I have heard that kind of interest of late. There has probably been stuff going on behind the scenes. I do not know if Ms Porter is going to talk about the committee’s commitments at the moment.
If there is going to be no net benefit from the committee process, if we can do all that work without dragging in another three people in the case of the committee—the two