LegCo Paper No. HB 32/95-96
Ref : HB/H/5

Legislative Council House Committee
(1995/96 Session)

Minutes of 2nd meeting held in the LegCo Chamber
of the Legislative Council Building
on Wednesday, 13 October 1995 at 2:30 p.m.

Present :

    Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon CHIM Pui-chung
    Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
    Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
    Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
    Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon LAU Chin-shek
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LAW Chi-kwong
    Hon LEE Kai-ming
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon MOK Ying-fan
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
    Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling

Absent :

    Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
    Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
    Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon LEE Wing-tat
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
    Hon David CHU Yu-lin
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Hon LO Suk-ching

In attendance :

    ASG2 (Clerk to the House Committee)














(1) Confirmation of the minutes of the last meeting held on 11.10.95

(LegCo Paper No. HB 28/95-96)

The minutes were confirmed.

(2) Legal Adviser’s report on subsidiary legislation

(LegCo Paper No. LS 1/95-96)

(a) Subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 11.10.95 (1995/96 Session)

(b) Subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 5, 12, 19 and 26.7.95 (1994/95 Session)

Referring to the Paper, the Legal Adviser explained the system by which Members studied subsidiary legislation. The Legal Service Division had prepared reports on the 105 items of subsidiary legislation gazetted during the period from 28.7.95 to 6.10.95 and the 49 items of subsidiary legislation tabled in the Council towards the end of the last LegCo term. The scrutiny period for these 49 items had been extended to the Council sitting to be held on 25 October 1995. In view of the large number of items and the fact that a deputation had sought to make representations on the Port Control (Cargo Working Areas) (Amendment) Regulation 1995 (Item 6 of Appendix IIIc to the Paper), he suggested Members consider setting up a subcommittee to study the subsidiary legislation.

Members agreed. The following Members agreed to join the subcommittee: Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr James TIEN, Mr CHAN Kam-lam, Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo, Mr LIU Sing-lee and Mr NGAN Kam-chuen.

(3) Business for the LegCo sitting on 18.10.95

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB 38/95-96)

The Chairman advised that 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.

(b) Statements

The Chairman advised that no statement had yet been notified.

(c) Government Motion

The Chairman advised that no motion had yet been notified.

(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings

(i) Air Passenger Departure Tax (Amendment) Bill 1995

(ii) Legal Aid Services Council (No. 2) Bill

(iii) Prevention of Bribery (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill 1995

(iv) Tax Reserve Certificates (Amendment) Bill 1995

(v) Gas Safety (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1995

(vi) Bank Notes Issue (Amendment) Bill 1995

(vii) Buildings (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1995

(viii) Intellectual Property (World Trade Organization Amendments) Bill 1995

The Chairman advised that the above bills would be introduced into LegCo on 18.10.95 and considered at the House Committee meeting on 20.10.95.

(e) Motion debate on "Private member’s bills" - to be moved by
Mr David CHU Yu-lin

Members agreed to recommend to the President the following speaking times for motion debate:

Maximum time allowed

Mover of motion

- introductory speech and final reply

15 minutes

- replies to proposed amendments to motion

5 minutes (in total)

Other speaker (including mover of amendments to motion)

7 minutes

Member who has been given permission to reword his original proposed amendment to a motion which has been amended earlier on

additional speaking time of 3 minutes

As regards the speaking order during debates in the Council, Members agreed to continue with the past practice. Members who wished to speak should, apart from raising their hands, press the "call" button to ensure that they would be called.

Members noted the wording of Mr CHU’s motion and the amendment proposed to be made to the motion by Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, which was tabled at the meeting.

In response to Members, the clerk advised that the minimum notice of a motion for debate and of amendment to the motion was 12 clear days and five clear days respectively. As regards an amendment to an amendment to a motion, although the Standing Orders were silent on the notice requirement, the past practice, as provided in the House Rules, was that 3 clear days’ notice was required. However, the President of the Council was the ultimate authority in this regard.

(f) Adjournment debate on "The importance of encouraging broad education and modern-day literacy (e.g. computer literacy) in Hong Kong" - to be raised by Mrs Elizabeth WONG

The Chairman said that total time provided for Members to speak in an adjournment debate, as provided in the Standing Orders, was 45 minutes unless extended by the President. The time would be apportioned among the Members speaking and the Member raising the matter for debate had a minimum speaking time of five minutes. The Chairman informed Members that those who wished to speak should notify the Secretariat before 12:00 noon on Monday, 16.10.95. Members who did not indicate their intention to speak by the deadline but would nevertheless like to speak, might be called upon by the President to speak towards the end if there was still time available in the 45-minute period.

4) Business for the LegCo sitting on 25 & 26.10.95

(a) Questions

(LegCo Paper No. CB 39/95-96)

The Chairman advised that, in accordance with convention, only written questions would be asked at the sittings at which the Governor’s Policy Address would be debated. Members noted that 20 written questions (tabled at the meeting) had been tentatively scheduled.

(b) Debate on Motion of Thanks

The Chairman said that the maximum speaking time for each Member would be 15 minutes. Members who had a special reason to speak on a particular day should inform the Secretariat.

(5) Any Other Business

(a) Provisional dates of House Committee meetings for the 1995/96 Session

(LegCo Paper No. HB 10/95-96)

Members noted the meeting dates of the House Committee in this session.

(b) Amendments to Standing Orders of the Legislative Council

(LegCo Paper No. LS 3/95-96)

The Legal Adviser introduced the Paper. Members endorsed the draft resolution at the Annex to the Paper, which sought to make some technical amendments to the Standing Orders. They also agreed to request the President to dispense with the required notice for moving the motion at the sitting on 18.10.95.

(c) Proposed manner of election of Members of The Legislative Council Commission and their terms of office

(LegCo Paper No. AS 12/95-96)

The Secretary General introduced the Paper and briefly outlined the functions of the Commission as set out in section 9 of The Legislative Council Commission Ordinance. Members endorsed the proposed manner of election of members of The Legislative Council Commission and agreed to seek the President’s approval to dispense with the required notice in order to move the motion at the sitting on 18.10.95. Members also noted that the election would be held at the House Committee meeting on 27.10.95.

Members re-affirmed the previous House Committee’s agreement that the eight elected Commission members should be broadly representative of the groupings of Members of the Council.

(d) Legislative Council Panels

(LegCo Paper No. PL 2/95-96)

Members endorsed the formation of the 18 LegCo Panels and the arrangements for signifying membership of Panels, as set out in the Paper.

In response to Mr Fung Kin-kee’s suggestion that chairmanship and deputy chairmanship of Panels should be allocated to the various groupings of Members on a proportional basis, Members in general felt that it would be difficult to have any laid down rules on the system of electing chairmen/deputy chairmen, and the present arrangement for Panel members to elect the chairmen/deputy chairmen among themselves should continue. However, Members might be able to reach consensus among themselves.

In response to Ms Emily LAU, the clerk advised that meetings for the purpose of electing chairmen/deputy chairmen of Panels, committees and subcommittees were already open to the public.

The Chairman advised Members that the following items were not on the Agenda, but he had agreed to their inclusion on ground of urgency.

(e) Arrangement of seats in LegCo Chamber

(LegCo Paper No. AS 26/95-96)

The Secretary General invited Members’ views on the layout proposed in the Paper. He said that if agreed, the works could be completed during the period from 28.10.95 to 1.11.95.

Mr Edward HO said that he had an alternative proposal which would require measurement on site to confirm feasibility. Mr TSANG Kin-shing considered Mr HO’s proposal feasible. Members agreed that the Secretariat should study the alternative proposal with both Mr HO and Mr TSANG and consult the affected Members before seeking approval by The Legislative Council Commission.

(f) Proposed delegation to observe the hearings of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC)

(LegCo Paper No.HB 30/95-96)

Dr YEUNG Sum introduced the subject on behalf of Mr Martin LEE who was then not at the meeting. He apologized for the short notice given to Members and explained the urgency of the matter. He referred Members to the Paper which proposed

sending a delegation to observe the hearings of the UNHRC to be held in Geneva on 19-20.10.95. The Chinese version of the Paper was tabled at the meeting. (Appendix).

Members then expressed their views on the proposal. Some Members said that it was important for a fully elected LegCo to fulfill its duty in representing the interests of Hong Kong people by sending a delegation to Geneva, especially since this would be the last time the UK Government would be reporting to the UNHRC on the human rights situation in Hong Kong. It was equally important to send a clear and loud message to the UNHRC and the international community that under the provisions of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, reports on the human rights situation in Hong Kong should continue to be made after 1997. As a delegation of the former Constitutional Affairs Panel had been sent last November to observe the hearings on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, it was only appropriate for LegCo to send a delegation this time when the hearings were related to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Some Members said that it would be difficult for Members to reach a consensus on this controversial subject given the divergent views expressed in the past and the short time available for Members to have full deliberation. A few Members were concerned about the composition of the delegation and whether it could represent the views of the Council. A Member said that since China was not a signatory state of the international covenants, it had no obligation to submit post-1997 reports on Hong Kong. It would be better for any interested Member to observe the hearings in his/her personal capacity, instead of sending a LegCo delegation. A Member suggested an alternative of sending a letter to reflect the views of Members in the name of the House Committee.

In response to a Member’s enquiry, the Legal Adviser said that a country was only obliged to submit reports under the provisions of the ICCPR to UNHRC if it was a state party to the covenant.

To sum up, the Chairman said that Members could observe the hearings in their personal capacity, or in the name of a Panel, the House Committee or the Council. The House Committee should decide whether to send an official delegation to observe the hearings.

After some discussion, Dr YEUNG Sum proposed that a delegation should be sent in the name of the House Committee. The tasks of the delegation should be confined to those of monitoring the report made by the Hong Kong Government to the UNHRC and of putting across the view of the House Committee that reports on the human rights situation in Hong Kong should continue to be made to UNHRC after 1997.

At the suggestion of Mr Edward HO, the Chairman ordered that the meeting be suspended for five minutes, to enable Members to consider the proposal.

(The meeting was re-convened at 4:30 p.m.)

On the understanding that the tasks of the proposed delegation would be as those proposed by Dr YEUNG Sum, the Members present agreed to send a delegation to Geneva in the name of the House Committee. As regards the size of the delegation, Members agreed to be flexible so that any interested Member could join .

In response to the Chairman, the Secretary General advised that $400,000 had been reserved for Members’ overseas duty visits for the period up to the end of March l996. The following eight Members indicated interest in joining the delegation: Ms Emily LAU, Ms Christine LOH, Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo, Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung, Ms Margaret NG, Mrs Elizabeth WONG and a Member from the Liberal Party.

After some discussion, Dr YEUNG Sum proposed and Members agreed that a sum of $100,000 should be allocated for this purpose, to be shared by members of the delegation as subsidy. A staff from the LegCo London Office would accompany the delegation.

(Post-meeting note: Mr CHEUNG Hon-chung ,Ms Margaret NG and Mrs Elizabeth WONG have subsequently withdrawn from the delegation. Mr Howard YOUNG of the Liberal Party has joined the delegation.)

The meeting was adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
18 October 1995

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