The Policy Address 2000

The Legislature and the Executive

114. The powers and functions of the Legislative Council include enacting laws, receiving and debating the Policy Addresses, examining and approving budgets introduced by the Government, and approving taxation and public expenditure. Under colonial rule, which lasted more than a hundred years, a top-down appointment system was adopted. The legislature and the executive authorities used to operate very harmoniously. However, since the introduction of elected seats to the Legislative Council, the political environment has undergone a profound change. The Basic Law provides for a system of checks and balances and a complementary relationship between the executive and the legislature. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are now divergent views and that, sometimes, tension exists between the two institutions. This is a natural phenomenon in a political system with a division of powers and constitutional checks and balances.

115. While exercising these checks and balances, the executive authorities and the legislature should also seek to complement one another. I firmly believe there is scope for closer co-operation, and to this end I am ready to work together with Members of this Council.

116. At present, through various means in the policy-making process, government officials will discuss with Members of the Legislative Council our thinking and proposals. For instance, after introducing a Bill to the Legislative Council, the Government will discuss with Members the rationale and the specific provisions of the Bill in a Bills Committee to gather the views of Members and to reach consensus. Our experience shows that this is an effective channel of communication. We will continue with this approach in our deliberations with the newly-elected Legislative Council. We will examine ways of strengthening the existing mechanism of communication, so that the executive authorities will understand fully the standpoints and opinions of Members of the Legislative Council, and can better ensure that policies formulated and Bills submitted will have the support of the legislature. I also hope that throughout the term of the new Legislative Council, the Government and the legislature will work together to resolve problems and to promote all aspects of Hong Kong's future development in a spirit of mutual co-operation and understanding.

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