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

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fight for work fairly, they want to get paid for the work that they do and they want government to stay out of their way. That is something the Canberra Liberals have fought for historically. We will continue to fight for it into the future, be it on increasing rates, increases to payroll tax or gouging through lease variation charges. We have stood strong on those and we will continue to do so into the future.

Discussion concluded.

Protection of Rights (Services) Legislation Amendment Bill 2016

Debate resumed from 18 February 2016, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (4.11): Madam Deputy Speaker, this legislation we have before us today seeks to amend a number of territory laws and statutes to make changes to the functions of statutory office holders within the new restructured Human Rights Commission and the expanded Public Trustee and Guardian office. In essence, these are consequential amendments that have arisen from the legislation that was passed in this place in the last sitting period.

Madam Deputy Speaker, you may recall that the Canberra Liberals did not support those changes. I refer members to my previous speech that I made in this place about those changes and the concerns that were raised not just by me, I might add, but by a significant number of people that put in submissions and, indeed, as I understand it, a number of people who are going to be affected by those changes in those human rights organisations.

There were, in essence, aims put forward by the government in terms of what they were seeking to achieve, which was stated as a more cohesive and unified agency, improved accountability and governance and more efficient and effective service delivery. But as we said at the time, there are a whole range of concerns, including increased friction that will arise between the various commissioners; a reduction in autonomy for the various commissioners; conflicts of interest that will arise; the particular roles the commissioners have, which are very separate, risk being lost in this change; the balance of power between the various commissioners has changed in favour of the president; and an increased emphasis on government expectations.

These are consequential amendments. We did not support the original bill, but I will not be seeking a division on this bill today because, in essence, the damage has been done. But in speaking to this legislation I make it very clear that we did not support the original bill for which these are the consequential amendments and which one could argue should have been addressed at the time.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Corrections, Minister for Education, Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs and Minister for Road Safety) (4.14): I support the changes in this bill. They are relatively minor amendments consequential to the new administrative structure established for the ACT's statutory office holders.


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