Page 6080 - Week 18 - Thursday, 12 December 1991

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So, if a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old engage in sexual activity, no offence under this new amended crime will occur. It is designed to protect a young person from abuse by an adult. If there is more than a two-year age gap and obviously an absence of consent, there is a potential for an offence; but in the case of the activities of young persons, with mutual consent, and with no more than a two-year age gap, as at present under subsection 92K(3) of the Crimes Act, there is an appropriate defence.

Amendment agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.


Debate resumed from 5 December 1991, on motion by Mr Connolly:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (5.55): This is a wonderful Bill, Mr Speaker. My colleague Mr Humphries is going to tell you all about it and make a great speech on it. Here he is now.

MR HUMPHRIES (5.55): Mr Speaker, thank you for the latitude in getting to the chamber. The Opposition will support the Disability Services Bill. On its face, this Bill does not appear to do a great deal. It appears to put in place a number of provisions that, broadly speaking, allow the Government to do what it already does. It allows the Government to make grants to organisations; it lays down the conditions under which they may make those grants; it talks about the activities which may be approved by a Minister in giving grants; and it contains criteria which are set out in the schedules.

This complies with a step taken by the Federal Government to devolve responsibility for funding of disability services to the States and Territories. As a believer in the role of States and Territories and that tier of government, I support the concept of giving them responsibility over this important area.

I am pleased and also a little bit surprised to see that the Follett Government is prepared to go along with that trend, because I have detected in the past some opposition by, particularly, the Left of the Labor Party to the notion of giving States and Territories more power in this area. However, it appears that the Follett Government is prepared to go along with this and therefore we can, with some confidence, see this as a step towards greater control by this community over questions of administration of disability services.

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