Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 November 2017) . . Page.. 5265 ..
Mrs Jones: How can you seek leave? Sorry. Is seeking leave after the fact even possible?
MADAM SPEAKER: It is similar to if you sought to make an amendment to your amendment: it would be brought into the chamber; therefore, you would not have seen it before 12 o’clock and leave would not be granted. Leave is not necessary. In the spirit of working through this very complicated piece of legislation, we are now referring to clause 9.
Mr Hanson: On the ruling, Madam Speaker, can I just ask that you find some clarity on that. A Machiavellian approach to that would be to come into this place with a very simple amendment and then, on the floor, turn it into something completely different by amending it. You would then circumvent the standing order as it stands. We are not particularly friends of that standing order, but if we are going to basically say that you do not need to seek leave for amendments moved through this process, it leaves this Assembly and chamber open to somewhat vexatious or unintended amendments being made. You either seek leave or you do not seek leave. We are not indicating that we would not, but we do need to follow the standing orders; otherwise you can see the consequences and where that could lead.
MADAM SPEAKER: I am going to come back with a formal response to that and not make that now. We will now progress, if we may, please. Again, I go back to the question. The question is referring to clause number 9, as in amendment No 1 on the pink sheet.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (3.58): It is undesirable to be dealing with an amendment to this legislation that we received a couple of hours ago, when we are not given the opportunity to actually express our opinion on that process. This change is quite a significant part of the difference in approach between the government and the opposition.
The fundamental difference between the bill and the government’s proposed amendments is that the government includes wide discretionary powers for the registrar. Under Labor’s amendment, under proposed section 53B(3)—this is on the pink sheet—there is discretion if the registrar is satisfied that the dog is not likely to be a danger to the public or another animal.
This means that a dog can kill a person and, rather than proposed section 53B(2) applying, which states that the registrar must destroy the dog, there is this discretion built in once again. This is the very thing we are trying to avoid—that there is discretion in proposed new section 53B(3). I note that subsection (4) has some qualifications, but I still think it is problematic, especially for the death of a person.
I can understand that for the death of an animal there may be an argument to be made. I can understand that. But for the death of a person, I really think that there should not be any two ways about it. A dog should be destroyed. I just do not think it is right that we have 53B(3) applying to 53B(1)(i), the death of a person.