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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 4189..


I fully support the Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2010, and I can provide assurance to the Assembly that I and my department will monitor not only these amendments but the act more broadly, to ensure that children and young people in the ACT have the best possible legislative framework within which to provide them care and protection.

I thank the Assembly for their comments on and their support for this amendment bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 11.38 am to 2 pm.

Questions without notice

Schools—truancy

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Attorney-General. Recently, the principal of Lanyon high school asked local retailers to deny service to school-age students during school hours. In response, the Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner made public statements that such an action might be in breach of the Discrimination Act. The Education Act 2004 makes it mandatory for children between six and 17 years to attend school, and the central theme of the Children and Young People Act is that the best interest of children and young people is of "paramount consideration". Attorney, do you support the statements made by the Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner? If yes, why? If no, what do you say in response to the commissioner?

MR CORBELL: I support statutory officers advising the community what their obligations are under the law. It was entirely appropriate for the human rights commissioner to highlight that it was discriminatory and unlawful to discriminate against someone when it came to the provision of a service on the basis of their age—a service which it would otherwise be lawful to provide to a young person. It was entirely appropriate for the statutory officer charged with the responsibility of promoting and upholding human rights to advise residents, the Canberra community, as to the status of the law. If Mr Seselja believes that it should be lawful to discriminate against young people on the basis of their age, then Mr Seselja can come into this place and amend the Discrimination Act. But it is not for statutory officers—

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Corbell, a moment, please. Members, this is not a debate. We are not shouting across the chamber in a debate. Let us hear from the minister.

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Speaker. It is not for statutory officers to say what the law should be; it is for statutory officers to say what the law is and to remind the


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