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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 2 Hansard (23 February) . . Page.. 787..


that staff of the office remain employed under the Public Sector Management Act, the Commissioner for Public Administration retains the powers to investigate the Office of the Assembly, subject to having received the written approval of the Speaker to do so. The bill is clear that, in such an event, the commissioner must report to the Speaker but is not subject to the direction of the Speaker or to the executive in undertaking an investigation, inquiry or inspection.

Consequential amendments in the bill also provide that the Office of the Legislative Assembly is an autonomous instrumentality taking its place alongside the Office of the Auditor-General and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. This bill, if passed, will represent a significant milestone for this place and the integrity, legitimacy and independence of the agency responsible for supporting and advising it—the newly created Office of the Legislative Assembly. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to the next sitting.

Justice and Community Safety—Standing Committee

Reference

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.25): I move:

That this Assembly refers the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for inquiry and report by 1 May 2012.

This is a straightforward motion to refer a bill to a committee for inquiry and report. I will be brief, and I will speak once. Mr Assistant Speaker, I understand from conversations I have had with you and with the other member of the committee, Ms Hunter, that there is general agreement that this would be advisable and agreeable to the committee.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 has one area of particular controversy. Members in this place will have received representations from numbers of members of the law fraternity about concerns that they have. These concerns are widespread. It was put to me by the Bar Association that a good way of airing these issues would be for members of the community who have concerns about the issues to be able to speak about these in an open hearing.

I was glad to receive the support of other members of the committee for this. I also discussed it with Mr Rattenbury. I understand that Mr Rattenbury has an amendment to refer also Mr Seselja's bill, the Crimes (Offences Against Police) Amendment Bill, to the standing committee for inquiry at the same time—or I presume you mean at the same time. This is quite acceptable to us. The provisions in the Crimes (Offences Against Police) Amendment Bill are somewhat different from those in the government's bill, the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2011. I think there may be merit in comparing the approaches in those pieces of legislation.


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