Tuesday 22 November 2011

Hansard of the Legislative Council


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Madam President, being a member of committee B I think that I have a vested interest here in this debate.

Mr FINCH - As I go back over some of the details of what I have heard members say here and also from the notes that I took at the briefing this morning I will see if I can firm up a decision before I leave the lectern. I do also appreciate very much the briefings that we had and the time taken, the four-hour briefing that we had, so thank you very much, Leader, for organising that. It was very detailed and a good opportunity to get across the detail and arrive at an understanding of it. Stuart Clues, Michael Kerschbaum and Rob Wallace were good representatives of the industry and gave us some guidance in respect of where we should go with this. I also appreciate very much the advisers and the people from the Government who have worked hard on this. One of the disappointing aspects that came through for me, and it must be for you as you sit there and listen to our prognostications on this bill, is that it has been over-consulted and all that -

Mr Dean - Since 2008.

Mr FINCH - Since 2008. You go through this whole process and here you are at the last hurdle and seemingly here we are dithering about and not getting on with the job. This is the invidious position that the Government places us in. We get placed here to deal with a bum's rush.

Members laughing.

Mr FINCH - That is okay, isn't it? You get my point. You have heard that we have other legislation that we are dealing with and here is a very substantial piece legislation. It has been worked on over a long period of time, as we have heard some three or four years, and then here we are given it at this wrong time of the year for careful consideration. I do not want to go into the details of the processes that I go about studying legislation and dealing with it but with the way the mechanics of my office work, I am behind the eight ball in getting the understanding that we talk about, the full understanding of the piece of legislation. I know I need more time if I am going to have a full understanding, as the members for Murchison and Huon have challenged us before to have a full understanding of these pieces of legislation that we deal with. I would appreciate more time for gestation of this bill in respect of the way we are going to deal with it, debate it, talk about it, understand the nuances of it. There are some other things about this too, in respect of the imperatives that the Government might suggest that we have in respect of it. 'Oh, it is about harmonisation, we are pulling in all the States, everybody is going to get involved in this and we are part of the bigger picture'.

Mr Dean - Could lose $4 million to $8 million.

Mr FINCH - Then Stuart Clues tells us that his industry is worth $2 billion - just the building construction industry. That is really small beer. It is interesting, isn't it, that the Federal Government throw these dollars out as that little bit of a carrot.

Mrs Taylor - To the State Government, not to the industry.

Mr FINCH - That is right.

Ms Forrest - To get the minister's signature at COAG.

Mr FINCH - Order.

Members laughing.

Madam PRESIDENT - Thank you.

Mr FINCH - I am losing my train of thought here, Madam President, but it is like these little carrots that come in that really try to give us the imperative that we have to push this through, that there is a big agenda here and that we are part of the bigger picture. We want to be part of the bigger picture but might make a mess of something and that is what I am concerned about. If we get to rush this and then all of a sudden - there are two States that are staying outside of this at this stage that we have heard, Western Australia and Victoria, so it is not as if we are going to be the odd one out.

Ms Forrest - You have to ask if some of that is political because you have State governments of different colours.

Mr FINCH - I understand that, but the point is we will not be the odd one out in respect of this and I am concerned about -

Mr Parkinson - Through you, Madam President - there are seven jurisdictions continuing with it, three have carried it and the other four have gone through I think their lower Houses and only two have stayed it.

Mr FINCH - Yes. We are still in the state of flux and we are still dealing with it towards the end of the year and I still suggest that, in due deference to the people who have worked on this over the years, at a crucial time of the year when things are busying up in all aspects of our work and our lives and here we are looking to deal very quickly with a substantial piece of legislation.

I think I have made as much of a point as I need to with the contributions from the other members, Madam President, but in respect of it going to committee B I had better bring my mind to that aspect of what we are doing here, and this is the first I have heard of it that there might be a reference off to committee B. I am not feeling very comfortable with that situation and I hear what the member for Huon says in respect of substantial legislation going to committees. I like the idea of that process but, with our new-found structures that we have in place, we seem to be not clutching at straws but saying, 'Is this a good idea? We might send this off.' If it was part of an established process, I think that would be a much better way to go but we seem to be cherry-picking here in respect of the legislation that we shoot off to the committees.

I do not feel it is a bad piece of legislation, from my cursory interest in it at the moment and the way that it has been presented to us and if it was in bad shape I could see why we would need to have closer scrutiny of it. I would appreciate the fact that our committee would be able to come together as a team and get our teeth into something of substance to gel us a bit more as committee B but at this stage I do not think this is the vehicle that we can use for that substantial bonding process for our committee. I am about to break into some football parlance here, I am sure.

I do not think I am going to agree with the amendment but I think that I would look to some sort of opportunity for us to have a bit more breathing space to carefully look at the implications of the codes of practice that are going to come in. I do not think there is any need to rush this. I do not think there is any need for us to have this taken to its conclusion in this session of Parliament. I will look to what other members might suggest but I do not agree with the amendment.