Page 1125 - Week 04 - Thursday, 21 March 1991

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Thursday, 21 March 1991


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


MR HUMPHRIES (Minister for Health, Education and the Arts) (10.31): Mr Speaker, I present the Inebriates (Amendment) Bill 1991. I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Inebriates (Amendment) Bill of 1991 amends the Inebriates Act 1900 of New South Wales in its application to the Australian Capital Territory, and is designed to convert all references to gender neutral terms. The ACT is bound to comply with the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984, as directed by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department. All States and Territories are required to comply with the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act.

Under the Commonwealth's Sex Discrimination Operation of Legislation Regulations, the ACT was granted an extension for amendments to section 2 of the principal Act until 31 July 1991. An extension applying to the remainder of the Act was granted until 31 December 1990, on the understanding that action would be taken to amend the current legislation. Changes complying with both requests are embodied in the amendment Bill, which I now present.

These amendments are an example of the Alliance Government's commitment to eliminating discriminatory provisions from ACT legislation. Proposed changes are in line with the provisions of the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act, and these act as a prelude to the proposed ACT Discrimination Bill. In keeping with the Sex Discrimination Act, this amendment aims to rectify those sections of the Inebriates Act of New South Wales which do not comply with the Commonwealth Act. The proposed amendments do not alter the regulatory impact of the Act, and will not require extra funds to administer.

Since the Act was drawn up in the less enlightened times of 1900, sections of the New South Wales Act contain references to "him" and "assault on women". These gender specific references contravene the Sex Discrimination Act, and therefore are required to be changed. The amendments omit all references to gender specific - predominantly male - terminology, substituting gender neutral terms. The amendment also replaces the offence of "assault on women" with "assault in general". Reduction in the use of sexist

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