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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 815..


MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Secondly, the Bill will overcome an anomaly in respect of the Ombudsman's jurisdiction in relation to the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court. The Ombudsman is not authorised to investigate the actions of a number of office-holders, including the judges and the magistrates. The Supreme Court also has a Master who exercises the jurisdiction of that court. The registrars and deputy registrars of the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court perform functions of a judicial nature. The Bill will remove from the Ombudsman's jurisdiction action taken by the Master and also action taken by the registrars and deputy registrars when performing functions of a judicial nature.

Thirdly, the Bill will provide the Ombudsman with a greater flexibility in deciding how best to handle a matter by providing a power to decide not to investigate, or not to investigate a matter further and to refer the matter, together with any relevant documents or information, to another statutory office-holder. Before doing so, however, the Ombudsman must have formed the opinion that the complaint could have been made to that other office-holder, that it could be more conveniently or effectively dealt with by that other office-holder, and that it is appropriate in the circumstances to refer the complaint. To allow as much flexibility as possible in order better to serve the interests of an applicant, the Ombudsman will be able to refer a matter not only to another Territory statutory office-holder but to any Commonwealth, State or other Territory statutory office-holder as well if that is appropriate and if that statutory office-holder has consented to the referral.

The Bill makes a number of consequential amendments flowing from these above amendments, and also makes some technical amendments aimed at improving the structure of this and other Acts. I commend this Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Follett) adjourned.

ORDER OF BUSINESS
Suspension of Standing Orders

Motion (by Mr Humphries) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day No. 5, Executive business, relating to the Report on the Administration of the ACT Leasehold, being called on forthwith.


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