Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 August 2008) . . Page.. 3390 ..
At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.00): Mr Speaker, the government is introducing a range of amendments to this bill, and some of those changes are quite extensive and sufficiently numerous that it was necessary for my office to receive a complete briefing on the changes proposed by the government. I raised issues last night about the fact that I had not seen the amendments Mr Seselja made reference to and the fact that he received them at 10 to 5. I was a little nonplussed, until I inquired further and realised that they had actually not gone to my office. The matter has now been rectified and the Attorney-General’s office made contact last night and set up a briefing this morning. I appreciate that process being now addressed. For that reason, I will keep my comments fairly brief.
These changes seem mostly sensible, although I had a few concerns with them, based on advice. I am, of course, a bit dismayed at the rushed nature of the bill and the need for this kind of ongoing, last-minute amendment. It troubles me—it has all week and I suspect it will into next week—that we have a situation in the lead-up to the election where it is clear that the government will use their majority power to rush through as much legislation as they possibly can. They are obviously not entirely convinced that those on the crossbench might be reasonable people to negotiate with, if they need them after 18 October. So bills are being hammered through in anticipation, I suspect, of the fact that there will be a less than desirable outcome from their point of view with the coming election.
One can certainly see why they want to make the most of things, but there is a serious danger in this kind of rushed approach. We have seen it with a number of bills that have been introduced recently, most especially with the unit titles bill. That is probably one of the more poorly thought out rush jobs that I have had the displeasure of seeing.
Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: the question for debate is the amendments before the Assembly; it is not an opportunity to provide a general commentary about what you do not like about majority government. I would ask you to ask Mr Mulcahy to constrain himself to the question before the chair.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you. Remain relevant, Mr Mulcahy.
MR MULCAHY: May I speak to the point of order, Mr Speaker?
MR SPEAKER: Indeed.
MR MULCAHY: That is a high level of sensitivity from the minister. I simply made reference to the rushing through of this legislation and cited it in the parallel context of the unit titles bill, which is, in fact, related to this particular bill, because this bill deals with the administrative vehicle that is being established to deal with matters under the unit titles bill.