Published: 24 March 2015

[7.55 p.m.]

Ms FORREST (Murchison) - As a member of that committee, I think it is appropriate that these committees be used for this sort of purpose. 


This is a bill that sits fairly and squarely under the Health portfolio and it is appropriate to refer it, given that was the intention of the adjournment.  It is disappointing that we do not hear from members who have not spoken, particularly the one who is up for election and may not have the chance to speak on this.


Mrs Taylor - The mover is also up for election.


Ms FORREST - He has spoken.  I believe the motion should be amended before I am happy to support it.  It needs to be very tight in its terms of reference.  The motion needs to be very clear that this is not about the big picture of the principle of the bill.  It is about the operation of the bill, the application and practicality of the bill, and not whether there are other ways we could achieve a similar outcome or the same outcome.  That needs to be included in the motion so it is very clear when this goes to committee A - if it does - that it is just to consider the bill in its practical application.  I believe the motion needs to be amended to reflect that.  I do not have the wording in front of me, we have not had the privilege of seeing that, so maybe that could be circulated.


Mrs Taylor - May I make a point of clarification?  I did seek advice about this and I was told, and I think rightly so, that the committee that takes this on should have the right to set the terms of reference.  I would hope the committee would have reference to the workability and practicality of that, and that is why I deliberately said in my contribution that is the issue.  I believe it is appropriate the committee has the right to set its own terms of reference rather than I propose that now.


Ms FORREST - I accept there was advice taken.  I take advice on things too, and it does not work out so well for me either.  The committee will determine its terms of reference but I believe there needs to be a clear message sent from this House that this is what we are looking at.  We are not opening up the whole debate because it will take too long, and we do not need to be looking at all that.  The question before us is a bill, and everyone who has spoken thus far has said they agree with the principle of the bill.  This is about the technicalities of it, and the application and operation of it.  I believe it should be amended to make that clear from this House, not just be a decision of the committee.


I do not know how you deal with this, whether I should seek to adjourn the debate to move an amendment or what we do at this point, Mr President, but it is my strong view that it needs to be a decision of this House in its referral.


Mr PRESIDENT - The bill is fairly clear that it relates to clause 4.  My advice is that this bill is fairly specific; it is specific in relation to what is required.  Clause 4 sets out in those four subclauses the interpretation, the sale of cigarettes, false proof of age, and review of the division.  It is fairly specific.


I do not believe that as a result of that there would be any difficulties, especially when one considers the debate to date, the contribution made by the honourable member for Elwick, and the major thrust of why the adjournment is requested for the matter to go to a committee.


When the honourable member for Elwick requested the matter be adjourned for a committee to look at the issue, she stated the major areas she wants looked at.  As I understand, the Council voted mainly as a result of what was mentioned by the honourable member for Elwick.  It is my advice that there would be no need to particularise the matters to be looked at and that could be a matter to be dealt with by the committee that is looking at the issue.


Ms FORREST - I appreciate your advice, Mr President.  I can see the logic of that and I accept that the bill is predominantly about the application of this change to the Public Health Act.  It is important to get this on the record in case there is any criticism of the committee, if this is successful and is taken on, for not receiving or accepting submissions that are way off the track.  It inevitably happens when you have an issue like this and there can be no criticism of the committee for that.


I want to make it clear that as a member of that committee I will be taking a strong stand on that - that what we are looking at is the application and operation of this bill, not all the other matters incidental thereto.  It will not include that in any terms of reference that goes to the public, if it needs to go to the public arena at all.  It will be a fairly tight inquiry to look at this bill only, not the broader issue.


I accept that and will support the motion as put by the member for Elwick on that proviso.

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