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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2290..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

court in preliminary and procedural matters. A judge will not be able to hear an appeal about a decision the judge gave.

The bill contains a number of unexceptional provisions dealing with the operation of the court. For example it provides that, where a judge is no longer able to continue hearing an appeal, two judges may continue to hear the appeal as long as the parties consent. It also allows the rules of court to deal with the time of initiating appeals and how they are instituted.

In addition, the bill includes a number of provisions which presently apply to ACT appeals in the Federal Court and which, if not included, would cease to apply to appeals heard by the Court of Appeal. For example, where a person is given bail during an appeal, the time spent free on bail will not count as part of the sentence of imprisonment. As referred to earlier, Commonwealth amendments are also expected to be introduced. We hope that that will be later this year, although it may not necessarily occur. We will keep pushing it. It is anticipated that the Commonwealth law will remove the Federal Court's jurisdiction and allow appeals from the Court of Appeal to the High Court. Accordingly, the bill contains a commencement provision that will allow the coordination of the times at which the provisions in the bill will come into operation. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hargreaves ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Fair Trading Legislation Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Stefaniak , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (10.52): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, this bill brings a number of our fair trading laws up to date. Two examples will suffice. Since the passage of the ACT Fair Trading Act 1992, there have been only a few minor changes to that law. However, during the same period, there have been a number of significant amendments to similar Commonwealth and State laws, providing new and effective compliance options in relation to those laws. Since the passage of the Law Reform (Manufacturers Warranties) Act 1977, there have been no amendments of significance to the law, even though the jurisdictional reach of the law was beset by doubts from inception. The law itself has been overtaken by specific provisions in part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The key reforms proposed in this bill are as follows: firstly, an authority to accept and enforce undertaking. Under the old law, the authority to accept written undertakings could only be exercised when a person carried on business in contravention of a prescribed code of practice. This bill provides a wider authority for the Commissioner of Fair Trading to accept and enforce undertakings. It permits the commissioner to accept a written undertaking from a person in connection with a matter in relation to which the commissioner has a power or function under the law. These powers are similar


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