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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4901..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

A new reform initiative has been inserted in the Bill to enable the court, at its discretion, to provide positive directions to parties. The amendment has been introduced with a view to enabling the court to recommend that a party participate in any counselling program or training, rehabilitation or assessment specified by the court.

For the purposes of enhancing the clarity and the application of the law in domestic violence matters, this Bill reviews a number of the existing provisions in the Act. The Bill revises the scope of restrictions on publication or printing of proceedings and inserts a new provision in the Act to clarify the application of existing evidentiary procedure in domestic violence proceedings. In addition, the Bill amends the Act to insert references to relevant procedural provisions in the Magistrates Court (Civil Jurisdiction) Act which apply to proceedings under the domestic violence legislation. The aim of these amendments is to enhance the clarity of the law by having a single legislative source of reference. The legislation has also been amended with a view to improving the overall language used in the Act and improving the layout of the Act.

Mr Speaker, this Bill encompasses the first comprehensive review of civil issues relating to domestic violence in the Territory since the Australian Law Reform Commission's report in 1986. I believe that these amendments, together with the others previously introduced - and in particular I refer to the effect of protective orders on owners of firearms - will not only make improvements to the practice and procedures to protect victims of domestic violence in the ACT but also ensure that the Territory remains in the vanguard with respect to domestic violence legislation. I congratulate the Community Law Reform Committee on both its reports and commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Berry) adjourned.

MAGISTRATES COURT (AMENDMENT) BILL (NO. 3) 1997

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training) (10.39): On behalf of the Attorney-General, I present the Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 1997.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STEFANIAK: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

I have already made comments on this Bill in the presentation speech on the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill (No. 4) 1997.

Debate (on motion by Mr Berry) adjourned.


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