Page 593 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 21 March 1990

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Wednesday, 21 March 1990


MR SPEAKER (Mr Prowse) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR STEVENSON (10.31): I move:

That order of the day No. 1, private members' business, be postponed until the next day of sitting.

I ask for this postponement because yesterday in this Assembly there was tabled the Standing Committee on Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Report No. 2 of 1990. That report extensively discusses the two publications control amendment bills and there are a number of points which I feel are worthy of discussion and public notice prior to going ahead with the legislation. One particular point is that there has been a rumour that my Bill introduces draconian police powers. My Bill actually says nothing whatsoever about police powers. Within the report there is a mention that a police officer may enter any place and may search for and seize anything that he or she believes on reasonable grounds to be connected with an offence that is found on or in the place if - and only if - the search and seizure is made with consent of the person in charge of the property or under a warrant under section 34.

So, simply put, the police do have powers in the Publications Control Act but that was not of my doing. I was simply amending the Act; the police powers were already there. Indeed, the powers are only with the consent of the person owning the property or, standardly as with other legislation, with a search warrant; in other words, the police have to convince a person who has the responsibility of issuing a search warrant that they have reasonable cause to believe that the search will produce something.

There is another point that has come up about this. I know there are a large number of people in Canberra who wish to be in this Assembly when the matter of X-rated videos is debated. I think that it would be excellent if, as a general rule - not just for private members' business - when we are going to debate a matter of high public interest we give the Canberra public an opportunity to be here. In other words, we should give a week's notice perhaps, as a general rule. That is something I will be discussing with various members of this Assembly. I think it would be an excellent idea on those occasions where the people of Canberra are particularly concerned about an

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