Page 147 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 December 2008

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The legal principle that applies in relation to an application to a court is “the interests of justice”. When one is concerned with a new compulsory statutory insurance regime, it is imperative that consistency of approach to similar issues should be facilitated. Consistency saves costs. Applying the same principle to all claim time-limit-related issues allows courts to develop a consistent approach to jurisprudence and legal policy.

On 21 August 2008, during the penultimate week of sittings of the previous Assembly, my predecessor as Treasurer gave a commitment to the ACT legal profession that the government would review claim time limits for nominal defendant claims. It has met that commitment and, further, has provided additional consistency in the principles to be applied by claimants seeking extensions of time in respect of all CTP claim time limits. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned.


Motion by Mr Corbell proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Legislative Assembly—scrutiny of executive

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (6.58): I think it is worth reflecting on the different make-up of the Assembly that we have. We have had some reflection generally in this place about the election result and the new situation with a minority government—seven Labor, six Liberals and four Greens. We are certainly hopeful that this new arrangement will serve to see the executive more heavily scrutinised.

We have not seen much evidence of it yet, it must be said. The first test, I think, for additional scrutiny has been failed and it has been failed pretty badly. We are seeing bills going through, rushed through with no scrutiny—again, a principle, of course, which we voted against just this morning. We are seeing gags imposed in the first sitting day of the Assembly. We are seeing the gag order come out. So even basic levels of debate are being stifled. There is not even the ability to have a reasonable back and forth about the rationale for pushing through a piece of legislation.

The first test of this principle that there should be scrutiny of bills, that there should be time taken to look at them, has been failed. Unfortunately, it has been failed by the Greens. We expected the Labor Party to do this. They operated in the way that they have always operated. They will seek to have as little scrutiny of their actions as possible and they will seek to ram things through in the way that they always have. The difference is that they no longer have nine votes; they rely on one or other of the parties to support them. We would hope the standard of scrutiny would improve as we move forward. But the first test has been failed and failed pretty dismally.

We will see now $35 million worth of taxpayers’ money being spent, with the most minimal of scrutiny, with briefings only being offered after the fact, with no

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