Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . .
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.
Crimes (Consent) Amendment Bill 2018
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.01): I seek leave to table an exposure draft of the Crimes (Consent) Amendment Bill and associated papers, and to make a statement in relation to the papers.
MS LE COUTEUR: I present the following papers:
Consent in Sexual Violence Laws—ACT Greens Discussion Paper, dated February 2018.
Crimes (Consent) Amendment Bill 2018—Exposure draft.
This exposure draft seeks to insert a positive, affirmative definition of consent in the Crimes Act and follows through on a commitment I made in 2017 to address this issue and also addresses an item in our parliamentary agreement. Last year I tabled the Crimes (Invasion of Privacy) Amendment Bill 2017, on which I received considerable and consistent feedback that a positive, affirmative definition of consent was something that the majority of stakeholders wanted.
Feedback from the Human Rights Commission at the time indicated that the legal definition of consent is a sensitive area of law that requires careful consideration before being changed and, although we consulted very widely on my bill, speaking with over 100 stakeholders and receiving nearly 20 robust submissions, we thought it would be prudent to round off the discussion about consent into its own bill.
I now seek to fulfil my commitment to create a positive, affirmative definition of consent for the ACT. This exposure draft seeks to align the ACT with other states, all of which have a positive definition of consent in their legislation. The ACT is the only jurisdiction that does not have a positive definition of consent in their legislation. Our Crimes Act defines consent by what it is not, rather than what it is. In that sense our law sees consent by when it is taken away, rather than when it is given. At best, this is confusing and does not help young people learn about how to relate to their sexual partners.
This issue has been raised repeatedly by a number of inquiries and reviews, not least of which was the 2010 Australian Law Reform Commission's report into family violence which stated: