Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (2 March) . . Page.. 551..
Clause 9 agreed to.
Clause 10 agreed to.
MR STEFANIAK (9.40): I just want to make a brief comment on this clause. This clause relates to the protection of the family and children and subclause (1) states:
The family is the natural and basic group unit of society and is entitled to be protected by society.
Although I see the note that the family has a broad meaning, this subclause could be considered somewhat inconsistent with an act passed by this Assembly very recently, namely the Parentage Act dealing with same-sex adoption. The issues raised in that revolved around the best interests of the child and issues around family. Surely this particular subclause could well be quite contradictory to that. I do not hear Mr Stanhope saying that we should not have the same-sex adoption bill, the Parentage Act; that that should now be amended. But it does raise questions-and questions that might well be taken to the court-as to whether in fact that particular piece of ACT legislation now in the statute book is in fact inconsistent with this clause. I think that again shows some of the problems in this bill, which is going to be passed tonight.
Clause 11 agreed to.
Clause 12 agreed to.
Proposed new clause 12A.
MR STEFANIAK (9.42): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name on the yellow paper, which inserts a new clause 12A [see schedule 3 at page 604]. This is a terribly important right and I am utterly amazed that it has not been included by Mr Stanhope in this bill. From clause 18 through to, I think, about 25, there is a plethora of rights-the rights of persons accused, rights of persons arrested, basically the rights of persons who are before the courts, the rights of criminals-but nothing about the rights of society in general, the rights of citizens to safety and security, and nothing in relation to the rights of victims. As you will see from this amendment, the source of this right is the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. It was commented on in the annual report 2002-03 of the Victims of Crime Support Program by the Victims of Crime Coordinator. That report dealt with the bill of rights consultation and made these points:
The VoCC, along with many others in the community, made a detailed submission to the Consultative Committee on an ACT Bill of Rights. That submission advised the Committee of the Victims of Crime Act 1994 as an existing framework of rights for a section of the community. Reflecting on experience as a statutory promotional and compliance position for those 'rights', the VoCC expressed preference for:
A legislated Bill rather than entrenched rights,