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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 4 Hansard (10 April) . .

Page.. 1155..


Finally, the bill redrafts offences to bring them in line with current policy and ensure that they are drafted clearly so that people understand their responsibilities, and fines can be issued when there is blatant disregard for our important dog laws that are targeted at protecting both people and animals.

This bill is the next step, combined with the other proactive steps the government is taking hand in hand with the community, to being the best we possibly can when it comes to managing dogs in our community. I commend the bill to the Assembly and thank members for their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

Debate resumed from 22 March 2018, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.47): The Canberra Liberals will support this bill. The amendments in it are described by the government as necessary "to improve the operation of each amended law without amounting to a major change in policy". However, the reality is that in many ways this bill is more a series of fix-ups to problems that have arisen. The Canberra Liberals accept that errors can and do occur, and we will not prevent errors from being corrected. However, we will note that there are too many errors and oversights coming up under this administration, too many fix-ups that, frankly, ought not to have occurred in the first place, and too many fix-ups that lead to undesirable and problematic lawmaking.

For example, the bill amends the Crimes Act 1900 to clarify the powers of a guardian for an accused who is unfit to plead. It seems procedural, and the profession have raised no concerns. And amendments to the Crimes (Restorative Justice) Act 2004 will extend the time frame for the restorative justice unit to report on progress for referred matters. This could be seen as just another example of the directorate changing their own deadlines after failing to meet them in the past. However, doing this function well is important, and the profession have raised no concerns.

Some of the other changes in the bill are not so straightforward. For example, the amendment to the Civil Laws (Wrongs) Act 2002 will allow the minister to extend the period for which a professional standards scheme is in force by making a notifiable instrument regardless of whether the instrument is made before or after the period that the scheme ends. This gives rise to retrospectivity in the operation of this law. As I am sure the Attorney-General would agree, retrospective laws are rarely good laws, often


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