Page 4854 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 25 October 2011

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we could, of course, pass an act giving effect to that intention if the majority so wished, just as would be required to disallow it, it is not appropriate for this place to pass a law adopting a provision that purported to oust the role of this parliament in determining the laws that apply to the people of the ACT.

On the technicality of the bill, it is not designating any amendments to be disallowable instruments. As the minister mentioned earlier, it is creating a disallowance process the same as the process we have in place for disallowable instruments, and this is perfectly consistent with the provisions of the Legislation Act.

There have been significant concerns expressed about the amendment increasing the capacity to diverge from the national framework. I do not believe that to be the case and I am confident that all members will be mindful of the benefits of national consistency when considering whether, on balance, changes to the act or regulations are in the best interests of the ACT.

The ACT Greens support the proposed regulations. This does mean that the act will be nationally consistent and that we are adopting the national law. Nothing, I believe, will change for childcare because of the amendment today that I am proposing, other than to ensure that this parliament does—and I believe should—have a role to play.

The national agreement that we have agreed to will come into law. It is, as I said in my previous speech, important to have some consistency right across Australia. But we do need to be careful about how we engage in those negotiations at the federal level to ensure that we do not take away the place this parliament has in passing laws and looking at the laws that would be in the best interests of the territory. I commend my amendment to the house.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.30): I welcome Ms Hunter’s amendment to this bill. It shows a keen awareness of one of the problems that we have in Australia with template legislation of various sorts. It is an issue that has occupied the thinking of the scrutiny of bills committee in a number of contexts over the past few years. As I experienced when I attended the Australia-New Zealand Scrutiny of Legislation Conference, it is an issue that occupies scrutiny committees across not just Australia but also New Zealand in relation to the way that we deal with template legislation and the way that we ensure that people in the ACT who are affected by changes in legislation are made aware of it.

Real problems arise with template legislation where a particular jurisdiction has carriage of it. When they pass legislation in the Victorian parliament, the Queensland parliament or the New South Wales parliament—in this case the Victorian parliament—and the changes come into effect in the ACT, the people who are responsible for its application may not know about it. Childcare operators in the childcare centres may not know about it and they may be breaching the law unwittingly. We need to do everything to ensure that, first of all, this legislature consents to that change. Secondly, we need to do everything to ensure that people who are affected by the changes know and understand those changes and have the capacity to act according to law.

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