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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2197..


AUDITOR-GENERAL - REPORT NO. 6 OF 1997
The Canberra Hospital Management - Control of Salaried Specialists
Private Practice

MR SPEAKER: I present, for the information of members, the Auditor-General's Report No. 6 of 1997, "The Canberra Hospital Management - Control of Salaried Specialists Private Practice".

Motion (by Mr Humphries), by leave, agreed to:

That the Assembly authorises the publication of the Auditor-General's Report No. 6 of 1997.

LEGAL AFFAIRS - STANDING COMMITTEE
Report on Inquiry into the Efficacy of Surveillance Cameras -
Government Response and Ministerial Statement

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (3.21): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the Government's response to Report No. 2 of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs, entitled "The Electronic Eye - Inquiry into the Efficacy of Surveillance Cameras", which was presented to the Assembly on 25 September 1996. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Members will recall that the Government had hoped to proceed with a trial of closed-circuit television in Garema Place early in 1996 and that this matter was referred to the Legal Affairs Standing Committee on 29 September 1996. The committee has recommended that a fully evaluated trial of closed-circuit television in public places proceed, but only after a number of preconditions have been met. These preconditions include the enactment of privacy legislation covering the use of CCTV in public places and the appointment of an independent ombudsman who would also help develop a code of practice.

Mr Speaker, the Government welcomes the general thrust of the committee's recommendations, but we consider it too onerous to be expected to implement the two preconditions I referred to for the purpose of a trial only. They are onerous because of the personnel and time resources required to put these prerequisites in place. The development of privacy legislation for the use of closed-circuit television in public places would be a first in Australia. A major reason for the worldwide lack of privacy legislation for public place CCTV is that such legislation would be complex. For example, how do you define "closed-circuit TV in public"? How does it differ from a commercial TV station's news footage of an incident in Garema Place? Would the legislation attempt to control who can film in public and, if so, where does commercial television or a tourist taking videos or a family videotaping in a park fit into the legal equation? Would the legislation attempt to control how videos that are taped in public should be used and who should have access to them?


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