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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2712..


Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed.

Detail stage

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.57): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 2721].

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 3 to 13, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 14.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.58): Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek leave to move amendments 2 and 3 circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: I move amendments Nos 2 and 3 circulated in my name together [see schedule 1 at page 2721].

The amendments relate to the Children's Court Magistrate. These issues were touched on in the broad debate at the in-principle stage and I acknowledge the comments that were made by both Ms Dundas and Ms Tucker. To a large extent I share the sentiment that was expressed by both Ms Tucker and Ms Dundas. They, to some extent, reflect my view and the government's view in relation to the issue.

As I explained, there is some tension in a small court of only eight magistrates to provide a completely separate Children's Court structure and system. What the government is attempting to do is ensure that we can maintain the integrity of a Children's Court Magistrate service for children who come before the court. We are conscious of the special needs of children. We are conscious of the need for magistrates in the court to develop some empathy, speciality and particular understanding in relation to children.

I have to say that I believe that magistrate Shane Madden has made a very significant impact as a specialist Children's Court Magistrate. The government is committed to ensuring that we continue with a Children's Court Magistrate. What we are seeking to do is ensure that there is a capacity within the court to meet its other responsibilities as well, and that there is some flexibility.


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