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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (15 October) . . Page.. 4538..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

The bill also updates references in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005. Some of the sections of the Residential Tenancies Act were renumbered when the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal took over the duties of the former Residential Tenancies Tribunal. This bill will update the Residential Tenancies Act to reflect the new numbering.

Similarly, the bill would update a reference in the Crimes (Sentencing) Act to reflect a change in the threshold for indictable offences. Victims of crime were given the right, under the sentencing act, to make an impact statement for indictable offences. At the time the act was drafted, that meant any crime which could be punished by one year or more in prison. Recently, the threshold for when an offence is indictable changed to include crimes that warrant two years or more. This amendment will preserve the right of victims to give a statement in criminal cases. Now, the legislation will refer to crimes that may be punished by one year or more, so that all the crimes that were originally included in the sentencing act remain subject to the victim impact statement requirements.

I will now turn briefly to the third and last broad category of amendments in this bill. In addition to improving and updating the statute book, the JACS bill is also used to clarify the territory's laws in response to questions that have arisen. These clarifications are necessary to preserve the original intent of the territory's laws where there is some doubt as to what each law requires.

An example of the clarifying purpose of this bill is the amendment to the Court Procedures Act 2004. This amendment would clarify that everyone entering the courts may be required to pass through security screening. The courts already have this power both through the inherent powers of the courts and through the Court Procedures Act. The amendment will clarify the statutory power provided by the Court Procedures Act, in order to avoid any dispute or confusion as to the power to require screenings at the courts.

The one amendment to the Door-to-Door Trading Act 1991 clarifies the act by removing a duplicate rule. The same requirement to provide a copy of a contract to a consumer had been in two different sections. With the amendment, only one section will contain this requirement.

The bill would also clarify the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission Act 1997. The amendment to this act makes it clear that only one commissioner is necessary to constitute a valid commission. Additional commissioners could still be able to be appointed as a discretionary matter, as is the government's current policy.

Finally, a very basic change to clarify the powers of the Supreme Court is in this bill. Section 36 of the Supreme Court Act 1933 gave the Supreme Court the power to make rules. This provision is no longer necessary, and will be removed by this bill. The Court Procedures Act 2004 now governs the making of the rules of the court. This amendment will avoid any chance of confusion between the two sources of rule-making authority.


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