Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3695 ..
Given that the government is not going to do that, we have no option but to vote against it. The government can ram this thing through; it has the numbers. It becomes a rather futile and pointless exercise, though, to apply some numbers when you are going to put through bad legislation. In this place, first and foremost, we are legislators; we produce legislation. It is crucially important to get that right. If you introduce bad law, especially bad law which is really complex bad law, it takes a lot of time to get it right. I hark back to the problems which the planning legislation had for those very reasons—not being well thought out; with amendments put in in a rush and not being comprehensively dealt with; and with people who were in the know not being listened to. It took ages to fix that up. If you put this through tonight, a future government will have only the option of scrubbing it and effectively getting it right. It would be far better for you to start that process now.
As I said earlier, this is not the only piece of legislation where we have had this problem. It is always a problem if you are trying to rush things through at the end of an Assembly period, but it is a problem caused by simply not recognising how you need to consult on these things. People need something black and white in front of them, usually in the form of a draft bill or regulations. That effectively is your real starting point.
Clearly, from everything we have been told, that has not happened here. I would strongly urge you to go away and fix this up. The opposition has made its position quite clear in terms of what we intend to do, because it seems quite obvious that you are hell bent on getting this through tonight. That is most unfortunate. It will just mean a lot of extra work by a lot more people. In the meantime, quite a number of unit holders in the ACT will be lumbered with new legislation that is far more bureaucratic than it should be and that in many instances causes far more problems than it actually solves. That would be a great pity.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.13): I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak to the bill tonight because, based on the way the bushfire inquiry was treated normally after three speakers, the debate will be shut down.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Just come to the subject matter of the bill.
MR SMYTH: The minister, in his introductory speech, outlines what he attempted to achieve and then goes on and ignores it. In his introductory speech, which of course any court would refer to if this was ever appealed, the minister says that the bill that he is “tabling today has been in response to the strong public feedback that the current dispute resolution mechanism in the Unit Titles Act was not operating effectively”. So there is the genesis of what is going on here. “We have had a complaint from the public that something is not working and they would like the government to fix it.”
The government goes away and appoints a Mr Gary Bugden. It is some years later that the government tables a bill in the Assembly that bears no relationship to what the consultation determined. Indeed, my understanding is that Mr Bugden was not consulted on the final outcome. It is interesting that Mr Bugden, I am told by people who took part in the consultation, reported that what we should have is the adoption