Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 148..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
That is a long explanation, but I am concerned about the way this particular issue has run amok and about the mischievous use that has been made of the government's proposal to repeal this particular offence. It is sheer mischief that has been made with a very simple and tidy bit of legislative cleaning. It is important to note that the original reason for looking at these particular offences was related to how they apply to transgender people. Despite that, the real reason we are repealing these provisions is that they are archaic, anachronistic, completely out of date and quite useless.
In conclusion, I reiterate in relation to this bill, a very significant piece of legislation, that the principles we are dealing with-and, of course, they are principles-are the right to equality before the law and the right to freedom from discrimination. It is the government's belief that everyone is entitled to respect, dignity and the right to participate in society and to receive the full protection of the law, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identification. This bill gives very practical effect to that determination. I commend this bill, as presented, to the Assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Clauses 1 to 3, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
Schedule 1 agreed to.
Schedule 2 part 2.1.
MR STEFANIAK (11.09): I will speak to the first of my circulated amendments and the second, which relates to the criminal code, together. The first amendment relates to the provocation issue. It is proposed that a new subsection (2A) be inserted. It would read:
(2A) However, conduct of the deceased consisting of a non-violent sexual advance (or advances) towards the accused-
(a) is taken not to be sufficient, by itself, to be conduct to which subsection (2) (b) applies; but
(b) may be taken into account...
Initially, I thought, yes, fair enough. I made some inquiries and what I am mindful of here is the scrutiny of bills report. It appears that, while the New South Wales Law Reform Commission recommended this, the ACT would be the first to do it. There is certainly some serious concern amongst the judiciary, prosecutors and lawyers generally as to the effect of this, and the effect it would have in terms of wider issues in relation to provocation. The suggestion there was that this might be very much jumping the gun, and that it needs to be looked at in a much larger context.
Maybe the attorney does need to do more work here and perhaps needs to look at this in a more holistic way. What led me to draw up this amendment, more than anything else, was the concerns raised by the scrutiny of bills report. As people know, the scrutiny of