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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3414..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

engaged to undertake this evaluation. A number of matters were identified. Some of these are relatively minor and are incorporated into this amendment bill.

There are other matters that have been raised by this review that relate to specific legislation, such as mental health legislation. These will be dealt with in due course. The third group of amendments relates to various pieces of legislation and encompass a range of matters. These generally appear to be fine.

Turning to the government amendments, the Minister for Health has today proposed two amendments to this bill-firstly, to delete clause 1.9 that would have inserted a new section 59A. The scrutiny of bills committee has raised concerns about the application of this proposed section, especially in respect of the detention of witnesses.

The opposition agrees that this matter should be considered further. In fact, it is quite amazing when you look at 59A as it currently stands. The presidential member can issue a warrant to detain the person. Subsection (2) states that a warrant authorises the detention of the person named in the warrant; secondly, the bringing of the person before the tribunal; and, thirdly, the detention of the person at the place stated in the warrant until the person is released by order of the tribunal.

That is interesting in itself because health professionals, witnesses or anyone could be detained at a place stated in the warrant until the person is released by order of the tribunal. How often does the tribunal meet? How long will these people be detained? It is an interesting contrast that the government has put this into, for example, the preventative detention bill-the antiterrorist legislation-where the Chief Minister has gone through all sorts of hoops to look after the interests of would-be terrorists.

He had great concerns about a number of issues in the bills before other state parliaments and the federal government legislation, yet here we see a potentially indefinite period of detention for somebody who might simply be a witness, or any number of health professionals. I certainly make that point. I note that the government now appears to have perhaps realised the error of its ways there, or the classic inconsistency between that and its attitude to things like the antiterrorist legislation. I understand it will be seeking to delete that.

Secondly, the government is going to delete the clause proposed in section 130C from clause 1.19. This section simply replicates provisions in longstanding legislation related to the supply of certain medicines. The pharmacy guild has raised some concerns about the effect of this section on pharmacists, especially with the prospect of 50 penalty points for selling medicines such as ibuprofen that are now sold relatively freely over the counter. The opposition agrees that proposed section 130C be deleted from the bill.

I have also foreshadowed that the opposition will be moving during the detail stage to delete clause 2.25 and insert a new section 250. This section is intended to validate retrospectively the approval of things that have been done in certain medical facilities. The opposition supports this bill. We will be moving a number of amendments.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (11.09): I thank Mr Stefaniak for delivering that information. He is correct. That is the position of the opposition. There is one other


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