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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . .

Page.. 749..


appointments of the two presidential members for their original terms of appointment is put beyond doubt and the validity of decisions and orders made by them during the period when their appointments were not in place is also put beyond doubt.

Members of the community have a legitimate expectation that courts and tribunals before which they appear are properly constituted, and I have acted promptly to remedy this problem as soon as it was drawn to my attention. Establishing, beyond doubt, the validity of orders will protect the rights and interests of parties involved in those matters.

I would like to assure members that I take this matter extremely seriously. I have already asked my directorate to explain fully how the error occurred and to put in place procedures to ensure that this situation does not arise again. I want to flag that I intend to seek leave to have this bill debated later this week to ensure that the matter is dealt with expeditiously. This is necessary as, during the period when the appointments in question were not in place, both members made a range of orders, including a number that affect vulnerable Canberrans, such as guardianship and mental health orders. It is important that the validity of these decisions is put beyond doubt at the earliest opportunity to provide confidence to those charged with giving effect to the decisions that they can legitimately do so.

I understand that the urgency requiring consideration of this bill this week means that scrutiny of the bill will be limited, and I apologise to members in advance for this. That said, I believe that the need to put beyond doubt the validity of the appointments and orders made by the members justifies debate on the bill this week rather than delaying consideration of it until the sittings in April.

Recognising the limited opportunity for scrutiny of the bill, I have also foreshadowed this course of action to the chair of the scrutiny of bills committee, the Leader of the Opposition and Mr Rattenbury. I will ensure that briefings are made available, should they be requested, between now and Thursday. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Bill 2016

Debate resumed from 11 February 2016, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.06): The Canberra Liberals will support this bill. As the explanatory statement notes, the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Bill 2016 repeals and replaces the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 1983.

The bill establishes an administrative scheme for providing financial assistance to victims who have been injured as a result of an act of violence. Applications under the new scheme are assessed by the Victims of Crime Commissioner rather than submitted for a decision of the court, as is the case under the repealed act. This is an


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