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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 3284..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

unlikely that any agency action in the relevant area will be excluded from its consideration.

Any administrative action taken in relation to issues raised with it, even if not ultimately accepted as a complaint, would be reviewable by the ombudsman. The government considers that creating an additional statutory oversight process by the ombudsman would have detrimental effects on the matters that fall within the scope of the Human Rights Commission functions. There is, for example, the real risk of forum shopping. For these reasons, the government opposes the amendment.

Amendment negatived.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.22): I move amendment No 5 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 3294].

This bill proposes amendments to section 5 (2) (n) of the Ombudsman Act 1989 to restrict the jurisdiction of the ombudsman in relation to complaints about services provided to children and young people, with similar restrictions to complaints about health services, disability services and services to older people introduced in the Human Rights Commission Bill.

The scrutiny of bills report No 14 raised concerns regarding the potential for jurisdiction disputes arising as a result thereof, which could result in some complaints not being handled by either the ombudsman or the Human Rights Commission. We believe it is important to avoid this and our amendment seeks to omit section 5 (2) (n) of the Ombudsman Act, leaving that office with jurisdiction over any complaint that is not dealt with by the Human Rights Commission.

Section 6B of the Ombudsman Act 1989 requires the ombudsman to refer any complaints more appropriately dealt with by the Human Rights Commission to the commission, thus avoiding duplication or confusion, without limiting the jurisdiction of the ombudsman. This amendment is a little similar to Mr Stefaniak's but certainly one we prefer. Since his amendment failed to gain the support of the Assembly, I commend my amendment to members.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo-Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.25): The government will not be supporting Dr Foskey's amendment, for the reasons I outlined when speaking to Mr Stefaniak's amendment.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.25): The opposition will be supporting Dr Foskey's amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Question put:


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