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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1394..


MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (10.45): The opposition will be supporting this bill. It makes the usual minor amendments, which would be rather inefficient if they were done by substantive acts. It is the result of suggestions received from the parliamentary counsel to keep our legislation up to date and to reflect other sensible changes to the law.

There are some interesting minor amendments to several acts. I am pleased to see the commonsense amendment to the Unlawful Games Act. I did not realise we had a potentially difficult situation here, but the amendment will assist a number of groups. Section 3 of the act gives the definition of an "unlawful game"and lists various games. Paragraph (f) states:

any other game of skill or chance, or of mixed skill and chance, in which money or any other valuable thing is staked or risked on an event or contingency.

The amendment would add "other than backgammon, bridge, chess or scrabble"to the end of the paragraph. Unlike most other board games of skill or chance, the four games are typically played in competitions which are actually organised by community bodies and, without the amendment, may offend the act when played for some form of reward, such as in a tournament at which prizes are awarded. These games are not played for gambling purposes even when they are played for reward. The reward is a recognition of skill rather than a gaming reward and it is sensible to exclude those games from the act.

I am the patron of the schools chess association and I have been invited to open a number of Doeberl Cup competitions in the past. That is a classic competition with minor prizes, amounting to a few hundred dollars; they do not have much money. But at least it is a recognition of skill. Then there are the Australian grandmasters and world grandmasters. Competitors might be competing just for the honour of winning $500 as first prize. But it is a recognition of skill. It is hardly gaming. It is a sensible amendment.

I suppose we have a fair number of acts, ordinances and regulations that do, on occasion, need updating. Bills such as this are a sensible way of doing that. The opposition supports the bill.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.47): I thank Mr Stefaniak and the opposition for supporting this bill. This bill carries on the technical amendments program that continues to develop a simpler, more coherent and accessible statute book for the territory through minor changes to legislation. It is an efficient mechanism to take care of non-controversial, minor or technical amendments to a range of territory legislation while minimising the resources needed if the amendments were dealt with individually. Each individual amendment is minor but, when viewed collectively, they are a significant contribution to improving the operation of the effective legislation.

I would like to express my ongoing appreciation for members' continuing support for the technical amendments program. I foreshadow that I have circulated one minor amendment in my name. This was brought to my attention by my department yesterday, and I apologise to members for the late notice, but as members will see it is


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