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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3558..


The transfer of responsibility for credit to the Commonwealth means that the ACT Government will not be able to present legislation regarding this type of lending. It is anticipated that the work undertaken on the bill will underpin the transfer of responsibility for finance brokers to the Commonwealth.

Mental health—enduring power of agreement

(Question No 2082)

Dr Foskey asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 17 June 2008:

Does the Enduring Power of Attorney discriminate against people with a mental illness with regards to treatment; if so, are there any plans to change this legislation.

Mr Corbell: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

I believe what the Member wants to know is whether the Powers of Attorney Act 2006, which provides for making an enduring power of attorney, discriminates against people with a mental illness in relation to treatment. The answer is 'no'.

The Powers of Attorney Act provides for 'special health care matters' in relation to which an attorney, appointed under an enduring power of attorney, cannot make a decision. Treatment for mental illness is a 'special health care matter'. This is not discriminatory against people with mental illness, but it reflects the protection provided to patients by the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994, which empowers the Mental Health Tribunal to make orders relating to treatment of people with mental illness. Section 143 of the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994 provides that, despite any thing in the Powers of Attorney Act 2006, or in a power of attorney, an appointed attorney is not entitled to give consent to treatment for mental illness. This is also reflected in section 7B(e) of the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991, under which a guardian is prohibited from giving consent for a 'prescribed medical procedure' which includes treatment for mental illness, electroconvulsive therapy or psychiatric surgery.

Neither the relevant legislation nor the making of an enduring power of attorney discriminates against people with a mental illness in relation to treatment. They are designed to operate, and do operate, as a protection for those people by ensuring that decisions are made by the appropriate entity. I should note that an attorney appointed under an enduring power of attorney may act for health care matters, but not for 'special health care matters', only where the principal (that is, the appointer) has impaired decision-making capacity. Further, not everyone with mental illness has impaired decision-making capacity.

Compensation—wrongful convictions

(Question No 2100)

Mr Mulcahy asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 25 June 2008:

(1) In relation to payments and offers for payment for wrongful conviction under section 23 of the Human Rights Act 2004, who, or what body, within the Government will determine the amount of compensation offered to a person who has been wrongfully convicted;


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