Published: 19 August 2015

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I acknowledge the work done by the Kennerley Trust and the service it provides, but I am concerned we are proceeding with legislation that we only received on Friday last week - and this relates to the four bills it is proposed we deal with today. 


I do not feel I have had time to properly scrutinise them, and certainly not to consult.  I am aware of a couple of the other bills that will come, if we proceed.  I have raised the issue in this place as needing to be sorted out.  It is good it is being sorted out.  We are here to scrutinise legislation - we are a House of Review - and we need to have the time to review the legislation.  Generally, it has had a level of scrutiny when it is passed through the lower House.  Our role here is to also ensure what is being proposed and is said the bill will achieve in the second reading speech, will be the reality.  Personally, I do not feel I have had time to do that.  Others may feel differently and can express their views on that.

Regarding the Kennerley Trust Bill, I appreciate how this whole situation could have occurred over time, and the need to resolve these uncertainties.  Does this bill do it?  I do not know.  Perhaps it does, perhaps it does not.  A decent amount of time to look at it and get some advice from people more learned in the area of trusts and associations' law, et cetera, would be of benefit before proceeding with the bill.  It is an area that needs to be clarified.

There are a couple of concerns - one raised by the member for Apsley.  I believe she was reasonably satisfied at the end, but she will speak for herself on that.  One was about the retrospective nature of it.  I am always cautious with retrospective nature in legislation, or application of legislation.  There is a risk because we know, should the bill pass this place, it will just go through the lower House.  They have a majority government down there and they have every right to bring in what they like and proceed with it through their House.  We are the House of Review, and I do not believe we have had the time to properly undertake that review.  Other than the short time I have had to look at it, I accept there is a need for this legislation or something to clarify some issues and deal with some of these problems that have been identified.  They have occurred through a misunderstanding of the law rather than, as the Leader said, an act of mischief or malfeasance.  I do not believe we have had time to consider whether it is appropriate in terms of achieving the expected outcome as stated.

In view of that, I will move that the debate stand adjourned until we have had time to consider the bill.  I do not believe that it is particularly time-sensitive, but it is a matter for other members to decide.  I am not ready to proceed and I move that the debate stand adjourned.

BREAK - Motion negatived

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I am not in a position to support the bill at the moment.  I received it on Friday.  I do not recall a caveat that we could not discuss it with people, but the time did not permit discussion with people that you might need to, to understand the detail of the bill.  It is okay to have a bill package that gives you information such as the second reading speech and the clause notes.  We did not have any clause notes to refer to against the bill.

The bill is where the detail is.  As we all know, the second reading debate is on the principle of the bill.  The principle of this bill is to fix up a problem that has occurred over time with the Kennerley Trust, and to deal with some misunderstandings at law and some potential issues that could affect people further down the track.

If everyone else has had time to scrutinise every clause of the bill and feels comfortable with what is proposed in the second reading speech is achieved in the bill, that is fine.  It may well be the case, but without adequate time to do that - and talking about the amount of time we had to do it over the weekend, normally bills come through from the lower House, where they are scrutinised and then come to us.  They sit on their Notice Paper for a period, it may only be a few days, but then there is a time when they debate it.  A bill then comes up to us and it sits on our table for three days generally.  Often it can be longer before we actually get time to deal with it.  Time is about time taken to have a bill where you can read it; you can look at it and you can consult with the relevant parties on it.  This has not happened in this case.

It was provided on Friday with the caveat not to discuss with anyone who was not appropriate at the time, but we are dealing with the very same thing four days later.

I do not wish to particularly vote against it but I do not want to vote for it until I am confident that it actually does what it sets out to achieve.  The same applies to the other bills which we will get to, which are important legislation and have important implications.  Again, I know there is a time requirement for some, but not an imperative.

I am in the unfortunate position where I want to support the legislation but I do not feel I have had adequate time to scrutinise in a way I would like to, to ensure what we are seeking to achieve is right and we do not need to come back here in a few months' time with an amendment bill.

[4.27 p.m.]

BREAK - other Members speaking

[4.45 p.m.]

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, surprisingly I support the honourable member for Elwick's motion.

I spoke previously of my concerns about the bill actually putting into effect the intentions of the second reading speech and the inability to do so until we received the bill last Friday at the earliest opportunity that was, and I did not even have the benefit of having the articles of association to read before I spoke.  Whilst I do agree to some extent with the member for Hobart, this is a separate matter because the rules of association are the rules of the association, and they are already in place.  They were ratified at a meeting on 3 December 2012.  Whether they are right or they are wrong, they are already in place.

My concern remains that unless we have time to relook at the bill and check that what is being proposed is what is reflected in the bill as it is, rather than just hope it is right, we can never be entirely sure.  I accept that.  We do at times get amending bills back.  As we are the first House to look at this, and it has not been scrutinised anywhere else, we do have a responsibility to do as good a job as we can to ensure that it is right and there is nothing that may not be in the best interest.  Even when things come through that have been scrutinised in the other place, we often find areas that need improvement and we make amendments.

I am not saying that is going to happen with this bill but I do believe time is needed to ensure that this bill actually reflects what is intended by the Government and fixes the dog's breakfast that has occurred as a result of misinterpretation of the law in the past.


I support the motion to adjourn the debate.

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