Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3215..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
Mr Osborne seems to be prepared to allow as a defence that the defendant reasonably believed the young person was over 16 years. However, his wording is strangely more pedantic than the version of that defence in regard to acts of indecency involving young people elsewhere in the act. I am not aware of any problems in the operation of sections 92E, 92K and 92NB of the Crimes Act, in which such a defence is identified. My amendment more directly echoes provisions in the Crimes Act regarding sexual and indecent acts with young people.
Clearly it would not provide a defence for anyone professing to be a young person and so preying on, or making an indecent approach to, young people. It would, however, provide a defence to young people exploring fairly safe forms of sexual communication with each other, which the bill as amended by Mr Osborne would not. My amendment offers more realistic real-life protection for young people.
My amendment also allows the defence that someone might reasonably believe the young person is over 16 years. Given the more or less effective operation of similar provisions in the Crimes Act, as I have referred to, it makes sense to stick with the formulation of words that the defendant established that he or she "believed on reasonable grounds", rather than playing with the words as Mr Osborne has done. In essence, this aspect of the Crimes Act works well for young people in the real world, and I would be confident that it would make sense in this context as well.
MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (6.03): The government has had a look at both these amendments. On balance, we feel Mr Osborne's amendment is simpler. Both amendments are not unreasonable, but on the basis of my advice that Mr Osborne's is slightly better we will be supporting his amendment rather than Ms Tucker's.
MR WOOD (6.04): I join with Mr Stefaniak. I think Mr Osborne's approach is simpler. I understand where Ms Tucker is coming from. This presents a problem that arises too often in this chamber when we get amendments to amendments. We do not get the best chance to get a consolidated bill that is well put together. For these reasons, we will be supporting Mr Osborne's amendment.
That Ms Tucker's amendment to Mr Osborne's amendment No 2 be agreed to.
The Assembly voted-
Ayes, 2 Noes, 13 Mr Moore Mr Berry Mr Osborne Ms Tucker Mrs Burke Mr Rugendyke Mr Corbell Mr Stanhope Mr Cornwell Mr Stefaniak Mr Hargreaves Mr Wood Mr Hird Mr Humphries Mr Kaine