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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 1993) . . Page.. 2322 ..


A trading arm of government like ACTEW could well be made criminally liable now as a result of our removing its Crown status. The Act does not say that you cannot have any government body subject to criminal liability. It merely says that criminal liability is not imposed on the Crown by reason only that the Act binds the Crown.

The question then is: What is the Crown? The likely effect of our amendments to the Electricity Act, which are consequent in the second Bill, would be that ACTEW would no longer be the Crown. It raises the general issue of what is the Crown in the ACT, and Mr Humphries raised the question whether ACT Ministers are Ministers of the Crown. The body politic which is created by the self-government Act is, of course, a body politic under the Crown and, to the extent that we exercise governmental powers, they are probably sourced through to the Crown in right of the Commonwealth, the Crown being one and indivisible but in a federation having many hats. It is a difficult constitutional quandary.

I would recommend to Mr Humphries, if he has not seen it already, a very good paper prepared by Geoff Lindell of the Australian National University and published in the Federal Law Review a year or so ago. I have a copy in my office, Mr Humphries, and I will send it down to you. It discusses the peculiar nature of the ACT, which he describes as Australia's first republican style of government in that there is not a Crown representative. The full powers of the Crown are vested in the Executive. But, until such time as the inevitable referendum is passed creating an Australian republic, we do remain a body politic under the Crown. I thank the Opposition for their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

ACTS REVISION (POSITION OF CROWN) BILL 1993

Debate resumed from 17 June 1993, on motion by Mr Connolly:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.


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