Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 July 2008) . . Page.. 2481 ..
infrastructure such as the GDE but to be able to respond to concerns from certain residents about the disproportionate impact of noise and emissions from cars. It is always a struggle that any decision maker or government has.
In terms of consultation, it is wrong to suggest that we have not gone to enormous lengths to consult, whether it be on Macgregor, whether it be on affordable housing, or whether it be on climate change and the major reports and developments that we include in relation to that. Another example is the feed-in tariff. Mr Gentleman has worn out a pair of shoes consulting on the feed-in tariff. We consult on almost every policy initiative we pursue, whether it be in relation to the laws and regulations around body piercing and tattooing, the concessions regime, disability services, a review of the Liquor Act, roadside drug testing, the security of our water supply, the creation of an Indigenous-elected body, the recognition of same-sex relationships, the children and young people legislation—the legislation we are debating today—and whether or not to ban fireworks. The consultation continues. We are currently consulting on future housing developments in north Weston, and we consulted for years on the new planning legislation, the new bus network and on plans for the Canberra centenary. We consult on every single policy initiative that we pursue. (Time expired.)
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (3.37): Consultation is one of those areas on which governments can always be caught out. In opposition, parties and members tend to speak very highly of its value; and usually there is plenty about which to be critical of the incumbents on this matter. In government, consultation seems to become an impediment to government decision making—a drag, something to be given token attention, if at all. At least, that is what I have observed. What I have also observed is the government getting into political hot water because it has failed to talk to key constituencies. I have also observed that the best decisions have not, as a result, been made.
Let us start off with consultation on bills. In 2005, I moved a motion which, had the government and the opposition supported it, would have required an explanatory statement for every bill, detailing the consultation which had been done. Time and again, when my office is consulting on legislation that we need to vote on, I have found that the key organisations have often not been consulted. But it would be helpful if organisations that were consulted were listed in a compulsory explanatory statement.
The opposition voted against my bill in 2006, primarily, perhaps, because the Liberal members did not want to have to produce an explanatory statement. On the one hand, Mr Stefaniak in his speech at the time paid little attention to the consultation elements of the bill. On the other hand, Mr Corbell, in replying for the government, implied that the bill did not go far enough because it did not require the results of consultation to be recorded. But I would have happily agreed if he had amended the legislation to include not just the names of the groups consulted but what they said and why it was not heeded.
I agree with Mrs Dunne about the superiority of the New Zealand process for the scrutiny of bills. When I represented the ACT Legislative Assembly scrutiny of bills