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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 3717..


Remainder of bill, as a whole, agreed to.

Bill agreed to.

PSYCHOLOGISTS AMENDMENT BILL 2000

Detail Stage

Bill as a whole.

Debate resumed from 30 November 2000.

MR SPEAKER: The question is that Mr Stanhope's amendment be agreed to.

MS TUCKER (10.15): Mr Speaker, last week, after listening to arguments put by Mr Moore, I moved that debate on the bill be adjourned. Mr Rugendyke also expressed concerns at the time that Mr Moore's arguments raised some real questions about the consequences of Mr Stanhope's amendments. But Mr Rugendyke added that as he had previously agreed to support Mr Stanhope's amendments he would stick by that agreement nonetheless.

The responsibility of making law is not one I take lightly. It seems to me that we need to become more aware of the arguments as early as possible so that we can make informed decisions. When seemingly important matters are raised at a late stage of debate, then adjourning that debate in order to explore the matter more thoroughly is in my view not only reasonable but necessary.

As Mr Moore's arguments were also new to me during the debate last week, I sought an adjournment in order to gain advice. As it happens, a closer analysis of Mr Stanhope's amendments, and the arguments raised last week, has only affirmed my view that the amendments serve a good purpose.

These amendments echo the transition arrangements put in place for privately employed counsellors and psychologists when this act was introduced in 1994. The key feature of the amendments is that the temporary registration of a public sector employee only applies while that person is a government psychology employee. In other words, the amendments allow specifically for employees, such as those employed as counsellors in schools, to move towards gaining formal qualifications as psychologists, under the proper guidance of the Psychologists Board, and to retain their employment, conditions and duties during that process.

Last week Mr Moore raised the fear that the passage of Mr Stanhope's amendments would open a floodgate of unqualified psychologists. This does not appear to be the fact. These amendments provide some transitional provisions only for public sector employees presently employed in the delivery of psychological services. The interim registration will only be available to those employees while they remain in the public sector. Furthermore, registration is dependent on approval by the Psychologists Board, and permanent accreditation will only be awarded once the board is satisfied that the


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