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Preliminary consideration of Standing Order 422

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Again, having only just sighted the government’s this morning, I think perhaps it is a procedural question, Mr Chair. The amendments being filed effectively do not amend the bill that we are discussing today, they amend another act of parliament. I assume that is capable under standing orders. For future reference, in terms of filing amendments, is any member capable of filing amendments to a bill that do not in fact amend the act which is the subject of the bill?

The CHAIR: My understanding is that it is a new act that creates a new body, therefore you can insert amendments relating to other acts, as long as it relates.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: If it was not for the amendment the Hon. John Darley moved that created this, would this amendment have been capable of being moved if we did not already have the amendment?

The CHAIR: My understanding is yes.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: In the future if there are bills before parliament, anyone is capable of amending a different act other than the bill?

The CHAIR: If it was a bill amending an existing act in a specific way, my understanding is that an instruction would be required. In this case my understanding is, and I have consulted with the Clerk, that it is appropriate in these circumstances. It is probably not appropriate that we then have a more general discussion about what you can and cannot do. Let’s leave that on a case by case basis.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: This is useful, to be clear about how the procedure works.

The CHAIR: Your question is valid. I understand and I have consulted with the Clerk at the committee table that in this case it is appropriate and it is a bill for an act to establish the South Australian Productivity Commission and for other purposes. In this instance, in these circumstances, with this bill, these amendments are within the parameters of the bill and appropriate.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I thank you for the guidance. Just so I am clear—and you can correct me if my understanding is wrong—because this is a bill for a brand-new act rather than amending an already existing act, that is why it is capable of being brought in to amend other acts. The difference is that if it was a bill to amend an existing act, it would be an instruction if you were amending a separate act, whereas if it is a brand-new bill that is not amending any other act you are capable of moving amendments for other acts—

The CHAIR: Without creating a binding ruling, you are just about there, with one caveat; that is, if you are having an amending bill, a bill that amends an existing law, there are issues of scope. It is a very narrow scope and it would be difficult for the argument to be raised that you could introduce amendments to other bills, so it is also a case of scope. That is another consideration that the chair would take into account, or the chair acting as President. I think for the benefit of this committee debate, my understanding and the confirmative advice I have received from the Clerk is that these amendments are appropriate in the circumstances.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I have one final procedural question: is there a particular standing order that we should be referred to in relation to the capability to amend the distinction that is being drawn today?

The CHAIR: I refer you to standing order 422 for your further consideration.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: You mentioned the title of the bill. That does not need to be changed; it is capable within the title because of other purposes. Is that the suggestion?

The CHAIR: Yes, that is correct. Another factor that has been drawn to my attention is: should the government amendment be successful, it also makes changes to the long title of the bill.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Yes, that is amendment No. 2 [Treasurer–1].

The CHAIR: I suppose the only assistance I can provide you is that in these instances my understanding is that this amendment is appropriate.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I thank you, Chair, for giving us the guidance and advice that, as I have said, will provide guidance and advice for future bills where it is not amending other bills.

The CHAIR: I would be the first to let you know if it is inappropriate.

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