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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3267


Ms ROWLAND (Greenway) (17:59): I was listening to the parliamentary secretary, earlier, when he was talking about repeal day and I thought: why didn't we think of that? I have looked at the number of statute stocktake bills that went through the 43rd parliament. In a round figure, how many times did he speak on them? Zero! We had the Statute Stocktake Bill (No.1) 2011, the Statute Law Revision Bill 2012, the Legislative Instruments Amendment (Sunsetting) Bill 2011 and the Statute Law Revision Bill 2012—which was one of my best. Amongst other things, I would like to ask a question of the parliamentary secretary. The people who bothered to speak on this from the then opposition included the member for Goldstein. Every now and then, one of them would get up and make a contribution. I went through the contribution of the member for Goldstein actually referred to one item which he believed needed to be repealed. He said:

Mr Deputy Speaker, I will give you an example of regulation gone mad …

He said he wanted to talk about—

a secret directive to our top financial services companies requiring them to complete an 800-question audit—800 questions.

One of the questions I would like to ask is: where is the piece of legislation today in this House to repeal the item that so offended the member for Goldstein? I would like to see the member for Goldstein's wishes adhered to in this bill.

I will go onto the previous speaker, the member for Hindmarsh, who started talking about some items in telecommunications regulation. He said the standard form of agreement determination changes resulted in a number of savings. The only reason those changes could be made is that Labor enabled the Telecommunication Consumer Protections Code to be enacted under part 6 of the Telecommunications Act, which removed the requirement to have these legislative processes in place. While the current minister goes and prances around with CEOs in suits, Labor, in government, consulted with industry and consumer groups to make this happen. That is the only reason it is able to be repealed.

A government member interjecting

Ms ROWLAND: I will talk about a classic one that was just mentioned by the member opposite about the universal service obligations. Part of the repeal of these items in the universal service obligation relate to the really successful Howard government initiatives for universal service contestability, which even the International Telecommunications Union concluded was an absolute, utter, 100 per cent dud. So we are actually repealing legislation that the Howard government put in that was not serving any purpose whatsoever.

There is one more question I want to ask the parliamentary secretary. I have gone through the Australian Government Guide to Regulation. As I went through, I thought, 'A lot of this sounds very familiar.' So I went back and had a look at some of my other regulatory best-practice books, including the Australian National Audit Office Best Practice Guide of March 2007 Administering Regulationand the Legislative Instruments Handbook put out by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. All of these look extremely similar. For one of them, I thought, 'This sounds very much like the Office of Best Practice Regulation handbook 2013.' Last night, I went to the Office of Best Practice Regulation's website. There you can click on a link for the Best Practice Regulation Handbook. What happens? You do not get the Best Practice Regulation Handbook; you are automatically referred to this document, the Australian Government Guide to Regulation, despite the fact that, in this document, it explicitly says that the Office of Best Practice Regulation is independent from government. This division is located in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and maintains day-to-day independence from government in its decision making. How is the member for Goldstein's request contained in the legislation before the House, considering he was one of the only ones who bothered to speak on this legislation in the 43rd parliament? Where is the Best Practice Regulation Handbook 2013, or has that been censored because some people might be a bit sensitive about plagiarism?

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

The SPEAKER: I call the honourable member for Wright.

Mr Dreyfus: I was on my feet!

The SPEAKER: No, you weren't.

Mr Dreyfus: You did not look in my direction, Madam Speaker.

The SPEAKER: Oh, shame! We call from either side, in case you hadn't noticed.

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

The SPEAKER: Don't argue with the chair.