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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 2 Hansard (16 February) . .

Page.. 591..


We will just say that the minister did not notice that the delegations had not been made, that it was an oversight. But what if those on intensive corrections orders forgot to comply with the conditions of their orders? "I forgot" or "It was an oversight" would not be accepted. The whole situation is greatly concerning.

I am concerned about the financial implications for the ACT if those on intensive corrections orders were to take action against the government. I guess that is why we have agreed to debate this today. I am concerned about the legal ramifications for corrections staff and those on intensive corrections orders who feel as though they have been left with their pants down.

Experience tells me that there will be no apology from Minister Rattenbury. He would have much preferred to slip this through the back door and hope the incident went unnoticed. Instead, the minister will try to explain himself out of it—this significant mismanagement.

Given the efforts that the scrutiny committee has put into researching and providing legal advice at the last minute on what was presented to the committee as an urgent piece of legislation, we will support the bill. However, the more I think about this, the more it becomes apparent that this is all about the minister saving public profile. While I see it as necessary that those who are working in the directorate know that they are operating with the full support of this place, it must be pointed out that the damage has been done. According to this new bill, close to 200 JACS staff have been administering intensive corrections orders without the correct authority to do so.

We raise a number of concerns regarding how the government has again found itself making legislation on the run and not using due process. This is the third such occurrence of this just this week.

Here in the ACT, we are a unicameral system, a single-chamber parliament, and the scrutiny committee provides the Assembly with the only oversight of legislation external to the government which has no political drive. It is the only check and balance, and must be used appropriately. The committee examines all bills and subordinate legislation presented to the Assembly. These traditions have been adopted without exception by all scrutiny committees in Australia. Non-partisan, non-policy scrutiny allows the committee to help the Assembly to pass into law acts and subordinate legislation which comply with the ideals set up in the terms of reference.

It takes only 14 days for bills to go through the scrutiny committee—sometimes in a much shorter time frame, as has been shown this week. If this were to be dealt with in the next sitting week, what would have been the ramifications? Probably not very much except that we would have been able to look into it a little better.

It has been said to me in briefing that these delegations are just a piece of paper. However, at the risk of sounding as though I am trying to educate the minister on the significance of the trust voters have placed in the government of the day, I remind the minister that the powers vested in his role should not be taken lightly and they should not be seen as "just a piece of paper". The following are also just pieces of paper:


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