Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . .
Wednesday, 11 April 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, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.00): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
This bill seeks to insert a positive, affirmative definition of consent into the Crimes Act. Last year I introduced the invasion of privacy bill, which covered both intimate images and consent issues. There was a lot of discussion around the issue of consent, including from the Human Rights Commission. So I made a commitment to conduct more consultation on it, and in March I tabled an exposure draft of the bill.
Following the consultation on the exposure draft, including a detailed discussion paper and considerable stakeholder feedback, I am confident that the Crimes (Consent) Amendment Bill I am tabling today meets the needs and expectations of key stakeholders and the broader community.
Tabling this legislation today is also the first step in implementing one of the outstanding Australian Law Reform Commission recommendations from the 2010 report into family violence. It is also an item in the Greens-Labor parliamentary agreement.
In 2010 the Australian Law Reform Commission report into family violence stated that, with the exception of the ACT, every Australian jurisdiction had a statutory definition of consent based on one of the following formulations: free agreement, free and voluntary agreement, or consent freely and voluntarily given.
The commission made a specific recommendation in their report that all states and territories should have a positive definition of consent based on these principles. Both ACT Labor and the ACT Greens considered this so important that the commitment to implement the outstanding ALRC recommendations on sexual assault was part of our parliamentary agreement. The ACT is the only jurisdiction that does not have a positive definition of consent in its legislation. The bill will align the ACT with other states.
Of course, while the bill is only one of many steps needed to address the harm experienced by victims of sexual violence, it is a step towards affirming that the community believes survivors of sexual violence and that they are validated and supported when they approach the criminal justice system.