LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1830/96-97
Ref : CB2/H/5
Minutes of 21st meeting
held on Friday, 11 April 1997 at 2:30 p.m.
in the Legislative Council Chamber
Members present :
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP (Chairman)
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Allen LEE, CBE, JP
Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
Hon SZETO Wah
Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, OBE, JP
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon CHIM Pui-chung
Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, OBE, JP
Hon Henry TANG Ying-yen, JP
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, OBE, FEng, JP
Dr Hon YEUNG Sum
Hon Zachary WONG Wai-yin
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon CHAN Wing-chan
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Paul CHENG Ming-fun
Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung
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 LO Suk-ching
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling
Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG, CBE, ISO, JP
Hon Lawrence YUM Sin-ling
Members absent :
Hon Martin LEE, QC, JP
Dr Hon David K P LI, OBE, LLD (Cantab), JP
Hon NGAI Shiu-kit, OBE, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
Hon Margaret NG
Hon TSANG Kin-shing
Clerk in attendance :
- Mrs Justina LAM
- Assistant Secretary General 2
Staff in attendance :
- Mr Ricky C C FUNG
- Secretary General
- Mr Jimmy MA
- Legal Adviser
- Mr LAW Kam-sang
- Deputy Secretary General
- Mr LEE Yu-sang
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
- Mrs Vivian KAM
- Assistant Secretary General 1 (Acting)
- Mr Ray CHAN
- Assistant Secretary General 3
- Mr Jonathan DAW
- Consultant (Legal Service)
- Ms Bernice WONG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 1
- Ms Kitty CHENG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 2
- Miss Connie FUNG
- Assistant Legal Adviser 3
- Ms LEUNG Siu-kum
- Chief Assistant Secretary (Complaints)
- Ms Kathleen LAU
- Chief Public Information Officer
- Mrs Percy MA
- Chief Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
- Mrs Eleanor CHOW
- Senior Assistant Secretary (House Committee)
- Ms Christine LIU
- Senior Assistant Secretary (2)8
I. Confirmation of minutes of meeting held on 4 April 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1742/ 96-97)
The minutes were confirmed.
II. Matters arising
Report on Chairmans meeting with Acting Chief Secretary
(a) Western Harbour Crossing (WHC) Regulation
2. In response to the Chairman, Mr IP Kwok-him explained that as the Director of Highways would not be able to issue a certificate of substantial completion to enable the WHC to open as scheduled if his motion to amend the above Regulation to upgrade the air quality standards was passed, he had withdrawn the notice of his resolution scheduled for the sitting on 16 April 1997. He would seek to amend the Regulation at the sitting on 23 April 1997 by incorporating a future date for implementation of the new air quality standards so as to allow the franchisee sufficient time to make arrangements to meet the new standards.
(b) Hotel Accommodation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 1996
3. The Chairman said that he had conveyed members concern about the low priority accorded to the Bill to Acting Chief Secretary. He also informed members that Mr Albert HO, Chairman of the Panel on Home Affairs, had agreed to discuss the Bill at the next Panel meeting on 25 April 1997.
4. The Chairman said that in scrutinizing a bill, both the policy as well as the drafting aspects of the bill had to be discussed. Although there had been occasions in the past where a Bills Committee was not required after the relevant panel had examined the policy aspect of a certain bill, the Chairman pointed out that the bills in question were usually very straightforward. He reminded members not to confuse the functions of a panel with those of a Bills Committee.
(c) Resolution under section 4(5) of the Fatal Accidents Ordinance (Cap.22) - to be moved by Mr Albert HO
(LegCo Paper No. LS149/96-97)
5. The Chairman said that the President had ruled on 9 April 1997 that the resolution had no charging effect.
6. Mr Albert HO said that the proposed increase in the sum of damages awarded for bereavement had taken into account the outcome of a research conducted by him. He added that the Attorney Generals Chambers had indicated its support for the resolution.
7. In response to Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Mr CHIM Pui-chung confirmed that the insurance industry had been consulted and had raised no objection to the resolution.
8. Members noted that the deadline for giving notice of amendments to the resolution i.e. 9 April 1997 had already expired. Mr IP Kwok-him suggested that the resolution should be deferred.
9. After discussion, it was agreed that -
- any member who required more time to study the resolution should approach Mr HO with justification by 5:00 pm on 14 April 1997. Mr HO agreed that he would consider deferring the resolution to the sitting on 30 April 1997 in the light of such request, if any; and
- if there was any member wishing to amend the resolution, the Presidents approval to waive the requisite notice of amendments to the resolution to 5:00 pm on 14 April 1997 would be sought.
III. Legal Service Division report on the subsidiary legislation tabled in the Legislative Council on 9 April 1997 (gazetted on 4 April 1997)
(LegCo Paper No. LS 164/96-97)
10. The Legal Adviser said that the Air Pollution Control (Construction Dust) Regulation which was a new measure to control dust emissions from construction work would come into operation in June 1997. In view of the implications of the Regulation on the construction industry, Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that he would need time to consult his constituency. Members agreed to defer a decision by one week.
IV. Further business for the LegCo sitting on 16 April 1997
Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(a) Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Bill 1997
(Members Bill to be introduced by Dr LEONG Che-hung)
(b) Occupational Deafness (Compensation) (Amendment) Bill 1997
(Members Bill to be introduced by Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung)
11. The above Bills would be introduced into LegCo on 16 April 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 18 April 1997.
V. Legal Service Division report on bills referred to the House Committee under Standing Order 42(3A)
(a) Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Bill 1997
(LegCo Paper No. LS166/96-97)
12. The Legal Adviser drew members attention to the report. He added that the Administration had responded to points raised by the Legal Service Division, including agreeing to move a Committee stage amendment (CSA) to address a particular query.
13. In response to Mr Ronald ARCULLIs enquiry on whether the Bill had been discussed in the Joint Liaison Group, the Chairman undertook to clarify with the Chief Secretary.
14. Members agreed that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed, subject to the CSA being in order.
(b) Housing (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997
(LegCo Paper No. LS156/96-97)
15. The Chairman said that the Panel on Housing had proposed that a Bills Committee should be formed to study the Bill. Members agreed and the following members agreed to join the Committee: Mr Ronald ARCULLI, Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing, Mr LEE Wing-tat, Mr CHAN Kam-lam and Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee.
(c) Transfer of Sentenced Persons Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS 163/96-97)
Mr James TO
16. Members agreed to defer a decision, pending further study of the Bill by Mr James TO and scrutiny of the Chinese text of the legislation by the Legal Service Division.
(d) Auxiliary Medical Service Bill
(e) Civil Aid Service Bill
17. The Legal Adviser said that the two Bills sought to introduce separate and up to date legislation for the Services before the repeal of the Essential Services Corps Ordinances. Members agreed to defer a decision on the Bills pending written reports from the Legal Service Division.
(f) Noise Control (Amendment) Bill 1997
(LegCo Paper No. LS 162/96-97)
18. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to amend the principal Ordinance to provide for the control of noise generated by percussive piling by means of construction noise permits to be issued by the Noise Control Authority. The legal and drafting aspects of the Bill were in order.
Mr Ronald ARCULLI
19. Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that he would need to study the Bill in greater detail. Members agreed to defer a decision by one week.
(g) Merchant Shipping (Collision Damage Liability and Salvage) Bill
(LegCo Paper No. LS160/96-97)
20. The Legal Adviser said that the Chinese side of the Joint Liaison Group had agreed in 1994 that the 1910 Collision Convention and the 1989 Salvage Convention would continue to apply to Hong Kong after 30 June 1997.
21. Members agreed to support the Bill in principle, pending a further report from the Legal Service Division on the Chinese version of the Bill.
(h) Employment (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Mr LAU Chin-shek
(LegCo Paper No. LS151/96-97)
22. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to add the first day of May as a statutory holiday for the benefit of employees. The drafting aspect of the Bill was in order.
23. The Chairman said that the Panel on Manpower was briefed on the Bill on 18 March 1997. The Federation of Hong Kong Industries (FHKI), the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) and the Employers Federation of Hong Kong (EF) had sent in submissions raising objections to the Bill. They considered it necessary for the Labour Advisory Board (LAB) to be consulted on the Bill and for a Bills Committee to be set up.
(Post-meeting note: the submissions from FHKI and HKGCC were circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1798/96-97 and the submission from EF was tabled and also attached in Appendix I.)
24. Mr Paul CHENG proposed that a Bills Committee be set up. Mr LEE Cheuk-yan suggested that the Panel on Manpower be requested to consider the submissions as he considered the Bill to be very straightforward. Mr James TIEN said that a special meeting of the Panel was held recently to discuss three employment-related bills on the understanding that these bills had already been endorsed by the LAB. As this Bill had yet to be considered by the LAB, he disagreed that the same procedure should apply. He supported the setting up of a Bills Committee.
25. Members agreed to set up a Bills Committee. The following members agreed to join: Mr James TIEN Pei-chun, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr Paul CHENG Ming-fun, and Mr MOK Ying-fan.
(i) Employment (Amendment) (No. 4) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Mr MOK Ying-fan
(LegCo Paper No. LS157/96-97)
26. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill sought to grant seven days paid paternity leave to a married male employee who had worked under a continuous contract for a period of not less than 40 weeks. The rate of pay was four-fifths of his normal wages.
27. The Chairman advised members that the Panel on Manpower was briefed on the Bill on 18 March 1997 and that the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce had sent in submissions.
28. Mr MOK Ying-fan said that apart from referring the Bill to the LAB for deliberation at its meeting on 21 April 1997, he would also seek views from relevant organizations. He suggested and members agreed that a Bills Committee should be formed to study the Bill. The following members agreed to join: Mr James TIEN Pei-chun, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Mr CHAN Wing-chan, Mr Paul CHENG Ming-fun and Mr MOK Ying-fan.
(j) Security and Guarding Services (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Mr CHAN Wing-chan
29. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill was a Members Bill which sought to amend the principal Ordinance to exempt existing security workers, who were mostly 65 years old or above, from the requirement of applying for a permit. The Legal Service Division was clarifying certain technical matters with the promotor and was preparing a written report on the Bill.
30. In response to Mr LEE Wing-tat, the Legal Adviser said that the Bill was different from the Security and Guarding Services (Amendment) Bill 1996 which sought to defer the effective date of the principal Ordinance.
31. Mrs Miriam LAU said that the Bill introduced new policy issues and was contradictory to the objects of the principal Ordinance which sought to enhance the quality of existing security and guarding services.
Panel on Security
32. Mr CHAN Wing-chan responded that he had sought Mr James TOs agreement to brief the Panel on Security on his Bill. Members agreed to defer a decision on the Bill.
(k) Cross-Harbour Tunnel (Cross-Habour Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Bill 1997
Eastern Harbour Crossing (Eastern Harbour Crossing Road Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Bill 1997
Tates Cairn Tunnel (Tates Cairn Tunnel Regulations) (Amendment) Bill 1997
(Members Bills introduced by Mr IP Kwok-him)
(LegCo Paper No. LS152/96-97)
33. Members noted that the three Bills had been withdrawn by Mr IP owing to technical drafting reasons. Three similar Bills would be considered at the next meeting on 18 April 1997 after their introduction into LegCo on 16 April 1997.
(l) Employees Rights to Representation, Consultation and Collective Bargaining Bill - Members Bill introduced by Mr LEE Cheuk-yan
(LegCo Paper No. LS158/96-97)
34. The Chairman referred members to the submissions from the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce which proposed that the LAB be consulted on the Bill and that a Bills Committee be set up.
35. In view of the policy implications of the Bill, the Legal Adviser recommended the setting up of a Bills Committee. Members agreed.
36. Mr LEE Cheuk-yan proposed that the position of this Bills Committee on the waiting list be swapped with that on the Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill 1997, another Members Bill introduced by him. The reason was that this Bill was more complex and would require more time for scrutiny. The proposal would have no implications on Government Bills and other Members Bills on the waiting list. He added that he had already written to the Administration requesting that the Bill be referred to the LAB for consideration.
37. Members expressed the following views on Mr LEEs proposal-
- Mr Ronald ARCULLI said that despite the fact that the Administration had made adjustments to the priority of Government Bills on the waiting list periodically, it had often done so to enable bills which had to be passed before 1 July to be scrutinized first;
- Mr James TIEN disagreed that the position of the two Bills Committees should be swapped on the ground that one Bill was more complex than the other;
- Mr James TO said that once bills were introduced into LegCo they were in the public domain. He disagreed with Mr LEEs argument that the Bills Committee slots occupied by his Members Bills were at his personal disposal.
- Mr Bruce LIU was of the view that all bills were equally important, although some might be more urgent. He did not support the proposal which would be a departure from the established system.
38. Mr LEE said that the Bill introduced fundamental changes to the existing labour relations system and warranted careful scrutiny by members. As Members might not be able to introduce bills relating to government policies after 1 July 1997, there was a need for the Bill to be passed by the current LegCo. From the angle of public interest, the right to collective bargaining affected all employees. He asked members to accord priority to the scrutiny of this Bill.
39. Mrs Selina CHOW did not consider that the Bill warranted priority over other Members Bills on the waiting list on ground of urgency and importance. On Mr LEEs concern about timing, she pointed out that it was the prerogative of the Member in charge to decide on the date of resumption of Second Reading debate on a bill subject to giving sufficient notice under Standing Orders.
40. The Chairman concluded that the majority of the members present had voiced objection to Mr LEEs proposal. The Bills Committee should therefore join the queue in the normal manner.
41. The following members agreed to join the Bills Committee: Mr James TIEN Pei-chun, Mr LEE Cheuk-yan, Mr Paul CHENG Ming-fun, and Mr Bruce LIU Sing-lee.
(m) Hong Kong St. John Ambulance Incorporation Bill - Members Bill introduced by Dr LEONG Che-hung
42.Legal Adviser said that the Bill was a Members Bill which sought to incorporate the three existing organizations namely the Council of the Order of St. John for the Colony of Hong Kong, the St. John Ambulance Association in Hong Kong and the St. John Ambulance Brigade in Hong Kong into one entity called St. John Ambulance and to enable it to exist as an independent organization free from the control or direction of the Order of St. John in the United Kingdom.
43. Members agreed to support the Bill in principle, pending a written report from the Legal Service Division.
(n) Sailors Home and Missions to Seamen Incorporation (Transfer of Undertaking) Bill - Members Bill introduced by Mr Eric LI Ka-cheung
(LegCo Paper No. LS153/96-97)
44. The Legal Adviser said that the Bill did not involve public policies. A few CSAs would be moved to improve the drafting of the Bill.
45. Mr CHAN Wing-chan suggested that a Bills Committee should be set up because the sailors union would like to give views on the Bill. Mr Michael HO proposed that the union be requested to sent in a written submission first, having regard to the large number of Bills Committees on the waiting list.
Mr Eric LI
46. Mr Eric LI briefed members on the background of the Bill. As far as he was aware, the Administration and other relevant parties had been consulted on the Bill. He undertook to discuss with the union concerned.
47. Members agreed to defer a decision on the Bill.
(o) The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (Amendment) Bill 1997 - Members Bill introduced by Mr Paul CHENG
48. Members agreed to defer a decision on the Bill, pending a written report from the Legal Service Division.
VI Business for the LegCo sitting on 23 April 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(3) 805/96-97)
49. 20 questions (six oral and 14 written) had been tentatively scheduled.
50. The Chairman advised members that at the sitting on 9/10 April 1997, one of the pages of the Chinese version of a written reply provided by the Administration contained only headings and all the details were missing. He would raise the matter with the Chief Secretary.
No statement had been notified.
(c) Government Motions
(i) Four resolutions under the Bankruptcy Ordinance (Cap. 6) and Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32) - to be moved by the Secretary for Financial Services
(LegCo Paper No. LS165/96-97)
51. The Legal Adviser said that the four resolutions under the Bankruptcy Ordinance and the Companies Ordinance sought to raise fees, charges and deposits payable in relation to proceedings in bankruptcy and winding up of companies which were last revised in February 1996. The legal and drafting aspects of the resolutions were in order.
52. Members raised no queries on the resolutions.
(ii) Resolution under section 32 of the Western Harbour Crossing Ordinance (Cap. 436) - to be moved by the Secretary for Transport
(LegCo Paper No. LS161/96-97)
53. The Legal Adviser said that the purpose of the resolution was to seek LegCos approval of the Western Harbour Crossing Bylaw which would assist the Western Harbour Tunnel Company Limited (the Company) in operating and managing the Crossing.
54. The Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division had identified some drafting problems in the Bylaw, and the Company was considering to redraft it. Having regard to the tight time frame, it might be necessary for the President to waive the notice requirement of 12 clear days in order that the resolution could be moved at the sitting on 23 April 1997, before the opening of the Crossing on 30 April 1997. He recommended that members support the resolution subject to the revised Bylaw being in order.
(d) Bills - 1st and 2nd Readings
(i) Buildings (Amendment) Bill 1997
(ii) Weapons of Mass Destruction (Control of Provision of Services ) Bill
(iii) Family Status Discrimination Bill
55. The Chairman advised members that the above Bills would be introduced on 23 April 1997 and considered by the House Committee on 25 April 1997. He would request the Administration to provide justification for introducing the above Bills after the agreed deadline of 9/10 April 1997.
(e) Bills - resumption of debate on 2nd Reading, Committee Stage and 3rd Reading
(i) Sir Edward Youde Memorial Fund (Amendment) Bill 1997
(ii) Freight Containers (Safety) Bill
(iii) Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Planners Registration (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 1996
(iv) Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 1997
56. The Chairman said that members had agreed at previous meetings that the Second Reading debates on the above Bills be resumed.
(f) Motion debate on " Annual Report on Hong Kong 1996 to Parliament"
57. The Chairman advised members that the wording of the motion had been considered at the last meeting.
(g) Motion debate on " Bus franchise"
58.Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Mr WONG Wai-yin.
59. The Chairman advised members that the deadline for giving notice of amendments to the above motions, if any, was 16 April 1997, and that the normal speaking arrangement should apply.
VII Advance information on motion debates for the LegCo sitting on 30 April 1997
(a) Motion debate on "Vetting policy on migration application from residents of mainland China"
60. Members noted the subject of the motion to be moved by Mr LAW Chi-kwong.
(b) Motion debate on "Service for mental patients and ex-mental patients"
61. Members noted the wording of the motion to be moved by Dr HUANG Chen-ya.
61. The Chairman advised members that the deadlines for giving notice of, and amendments to the above motions, if any, were 15 April 1997 and 23 April 1997 respectively.
VIII Reports of Panels/Bills Committees/Subcommittees
(a) Report of the Bills Committee on Coroners Bill
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1743/96-97)
63. Dr LEONG Che-hung, Chairman of the Bills Committee, reported on the deliberations of the Bills Committee as set out in the paper. He said that the Administration would move a number of CSAs agreed with the Bills Committee. The Bills Committee recommended that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed at the sitting on 23 April 1997.
64. Mr Albert HO referred members to the new clause 12A(2) in the CSA (paragraph 18 of the report). He said that the Administration agreed to consider incorporating the views of members in the clause but the clause still did not meet members requirements. The Legal Adviser undertook to clarify with the Administration. He added that the deadline to give notice of CSAs was 14 April 1997.
65. Members agreed that subject to the CSAs being in order, the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed.
(b) Report of the Bills Committee on Immigration (Amendment) Bill 1997
(LegCo Paper No. CB(2) 1780/96-97)
66. Mr James TO, Chairman of the Bills Committee, introduced the paper which set out the deliberations of the Bills Committee. He said that the Bills Committee had agreed to defer consideration of the Bill until the right of abode arrangements for non-Chinese nationals under the Basic Law were in place. The administrative measures proposed by the Administration had already been implemented with effect from 1 April 1997.
67. Mr TO informed members that the Secretary for Security and the Director of Immigration would attend the meeting of the Panel on Security to be held on the following Monday, 14 April 1997, at 10:30 am. They would brief members on the latest position of the right of abode issue. He invited non-Panel members to also attend the meeting.
68. Members noted that the slot of the Bills Committee had already been released and allocated to a Bills Committee on the waiting list.
(c) Report of the Panel on Manpower - Labour Relations (Amendment) Bill 1997, Trade Unions (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997 and Employment (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997
69. The Chairman said that members had agreed at the last meeting that the Panel on Manpower should be invited to discuss the three Bills and report to the House Committee. He referred members to a further submission from the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association (the Association) tabled (Appendix II).
70. Miss Chan Yuen-han, Deputy Chairman of the Panel, reported on the deliberations and recommendations of the special meeting held on 8 April 1997. (A copy of Miss Chans speaking note is in Appendix III). The Panel recommended that -
- A Bill Committee to study the three Bills would not be necessary; and
- The Legal Service Division should assist in scrutinizing the Bills to ensure that their provisions had reflected the consensus reached by the LAB.
71. In response to the Chairman, the Legal Adviser said that the Legal Service Division did not have first-hand information on the discussions held by the LAB. In addition, members might wish to note that the Administrations proposals had not taken into account the latest developments in the labour relations system in the UK since 1996.
72. Mrs Selina CHOW queried the basis for not setting up a Bills Committee on the ground that the Bills had already been endorsed by LAB. She pointed out that as the employers of 160 000 foreign domestic helpers (FDH) were not represented on the LAB, they should be given an opportunity to give their views on the Bills. She recommended the setting up of a Bills Committee.
73. Mr James TIEN said that he was the only LegCo Member representing the employers present at the special Panel meeting held on 8 April 1997. On the Associations proposal to exempt FDH from the Employment (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 1997, the Administration had reiterated its stance that this could not be acceded to. In view of the concerns raised by the Association, the Panel had requested the Administration to conduct an overall review on the application of employment-related laws to FDH.
74.Mr LEE Cheuk-yan advised members that the FDH were also not represented on LAB. He said that the Associations proposal would introduce policy changes which had far-reaching implications. In order to minimize the number of cases of employers dismissing employees before enactment of the three Bills, he supported early passage of the Bills. His view was shared by Mr LEUNG Yiu-chung and Mr LEE Kai-ming.
75.Mrs Selina CHOW said that in order to address the concerns raised by the Association which had not been consulted on the proposals and to enable early passage of the Bills, it would only be fair to exempt FDH from the Bills pending the review to be conducted by the Administration.
76. The Chairman put the recommendations of the Panel to vote. There were 16 votes for and two votes against it.
77. Mr James TIEN expressed reservations about referring a bill to the relevant Panel to decide whether or not to set up a Bills Committee. Mrs Selina CHOW expressed concern at how issues which were not discussed by a Panel, such as the drafting and legal aspects of a bill, would be followed up in the absence of a Bills Committee.
78. Mr Michael HO said that the Panel had agreed that on the basis of information to be provided by the Administration, the Legal Service Division would examine whether the provisions of the Bills had adequately reflected the consensus of LAB. Members who attended the special Panel meeting had also agreed not to move Committee stage amendments to the Bills. He added that it was the decision of the House Committee to refer the three Bills to the Panel for consideration. A special meeting was held to discuss the Bills and all Members were invited to attend the meeting. The concerns of the Association were also noted and discussed. The decision of whether the Panels recommendation should be accepted rested with the House Committee.
79. Mr Ronald ARCULLI suggested that the information to be provided by Administration should be issued to all Members.
(d) Report of the Bills Committee on Social Workers Registration Bill
80. Mr Michael HO, Chairman of the Bills Committee, advised members that the Administration had no objection to the CSAs to the constitution of the Board (clause 3(3)) and the use of the title of "Social Workers" (clause 33), but it would not move them. He would, as Chairman of the Committee, move CSAs relating to the above two clauses, while the Administration would move the remaining CSAs agreed with the Bills Committee. The Bills Committee recommended that the Second Reading debate on the Bill be resumed on 23 April 1997. Members agreed.
IX Position reports on Bills Committees and Subcommittees and Bills which must be passed before 1 July 1997
(LegCo Papers Nos. CB(2) 1776 and 1753/96-97)
81. Members noted the reports.
82. The Chairman said that the Bills Committee on Education (Amendment) Bill 1997 had concluded its work and agreed to release its slot pending report to the House Committee on 18 April 1997. The slot would be allocated to the Bills Committee on Discovery Bay Tunnel Link Bill, in accordance with the new priority of Government Bills proposed by the Director of Administration in his letter of 9 April 1997.
X Any Other Business
(a) Medical Registration (Transitional Provisions) Bill 1997
(Members Bill introduced by Mrs Selina CHOW)
83. Dr LAW Chi-kwong advised members that the Democratic Party would move a CSA to enable Hong Kong students who were enrolled to study medicine in the United Kingdom or Ireland or in recognized Commonwealth institutions at the enactment, rather than the commencement, of the Medical Registration (Amendment) Ordinance 1995 (the Ordinance) to be exempted from the requirement to pass a Licensing Examination before they could be registered as medical practitioners. In view of the limited time given to members to consider the Bill, the President had been requested to waive the requisite notice period for moving CSAs to the Bill.
84. In response to members, Mr Ronald ARCULLI explained that the effect of the CSA was to change the cut-off date from 1 September 1996, the date of commencement of the Ordinance, to 4 August 1995, the date on which the Ordinance was enacted.
85. In response to Emily LAU, Dr LAW Chi-kwong said that students and parents concerned had not been consulted on the new proposal. Miss LAU urged that the CSAs should be circulated to Members for consideration as early as possible.
86. The Chairman pointed out that as the Bill was referred to a Panel and not a Bills Committee for discussion, Members did not have the opportunity to study the Bills clause by clause and discuss CSAs. He reiterated that the arrangement for referring bills to Panels ought to be adopted with great caution as the drafting aspect of a bill was as important as its policy aspect.
(b) Interception of Communications Bill
87. Miss Emily LAU said that although the consultation period of the White Bill had ended on 4 April 1997, the Administration had yet to decide when to introduce the Bill into LegCo. Since interception of communications was a violation of human rights, the Bill should be passed before 30 June 1997. She informed members that at a joint meeting of the Panels on Information Policy and Security, members had recommended that a letter should be sent to the Governor urging immediate introduction of the Bill. She sought members support for the proposal.
88. As the item was not on the agenda, Mr IP Kwok-him said that it was inappropriate to continue discussion. The Chairman pointed out that a decision could not be made on the proposal as a few members had just left the meeting and there was no quorum. Nevertheless, he undertook to convey the concern to the Chief Secretary.
Miss Emily LAU proposed that the item be included in the agenda for the next meeting.
(c) Nurses Registration (Amendment) Bill 1997
90. Mr Michael HO said that he was concerned about the status of the Bill. He suggested that the matter be discussed at the next meeting.
91. The meeting ended at 5:30 pm.
Legislative Council Secretariat
16 April 1997
Last Updated on 16 August 1999