Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3277 ..
issue a levy. Either way, we know their real intentions, and that is for a secret tax. There is no doubt about it; they have signalled their intentions. It is a tax by any other name. The government may well push it through next week. Even if they back away from having that either in the act or in the regs, we know that after the election they would force it through. That is their intention, they have stated their intention, and they certainly cannot be trusted not to do that in the future.
On the ACAT initiative, the government talks about it being cost neutral. One would have thought that the bringing together of all these bodies would provide streamlined efficiencies that would actually provide savings, but we see no evidence of that yet.
I would like to flag my concern about the late notice given for some of the amendments which have been circulated by the attorney. I understand they were dropped on the Assembly at 3.49 this afternoon. Having looked at them, it looks like they were ready sometime around lunch time yesterday. It is disappointing that this government is continuing to treat this place with absolute disregard and is giving us no notice.
Having had a quick flick through some of them, whilst many of them seem technical in nature, there are a number that we would like a bit of time to actually consider. There are changes in relation to rules of evidence; there are changes in relation to admissibility of evidence given at preliminary conferences. These are not small, technical matters. I do not know whether Mr Mulcahy has seen the amendments. They were circulated at 3.50, so he may not have seen them. I flag my intention that I will be moving that this debate be adjourned so that we can properly consider these amendments.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.19): I share the concerns that Mr Seselja has pointed out with respect to things being done at the eleventh hour. It is becoming part of a routine and I think it is very bad for the process of the democratic function of this legislature. There seems to be this indecent haste to the finish line, to get as many laws passed between now and Thursday week, with minimal scrutiny. The fact that on 48 hours notice I could fill the reception room with people who are concerned about one piece of legislation just shows that the job simply is not being done in terms of proper consultation and communication. I am not a believer in keeping on endlessly consulting, but people are getting alarmed by some of the legislative changes. I share the same sentiment—that some of these things ought to be adjourned until after the election.
In relation to the specifics of this bill, I have not seen the amendments that were circulated at 10 to four today. The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Bill consolidates existing tribunals in the ACT into a single body which will have jurisdiction over a large number of matters that are currently the domain of 16 separate tribunals in the ACT. The Attorney-General has already listed the tribunals that are consolidated under this bill, so I will not bore everyone by going through them again. Suffice to say that it is the objective of this bill to achieve greater administrative efficiency and economies of scale by consolidating the disparate tribunals that currently exist into a single, one-stop-shop.