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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2532..


MR STANHOPE

(continuing):

Mr Speaker, I want to thank all of those people who've given their time and expertise in the development of the bill. I'm confident that these measures will effectively reform the conveyancing system in the ACT by:

opening up the market to enhance the competition and the more efficient process for the making and exchange of contracts,

better balancing the rights of buyers and sellers of residential property,

closing the window of opportunity for gazumping to occur

and introducing a more open and transparent process for the conduct of public auctions in the territory.

Mr Speaker, I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Bill 2003

Mr Stanhope,

pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by acting clerk.

MR STANHOPE

(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (10.42): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill is to amend the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1991. Currently the act deals with the giving of evidence via closed-circuit television by children and sexual offence complainants. The act also deals generally with the use of audiovisual and audio links in proceedings before our courts.

The main purpose of this bill is to introduce immunity for the counselling notes of sexual offence complainants. I made a commitment last year to introduce this immunity, agreeing that complainants should receive the treatment they need without the fear that counselling notes will be misused in criminal proceedings.

The ACT experienced first-hand this issue, with the subpoenaing of a Canberra rape crisis worker's notes in 1995. Upon refusal to hand over the notes on the grounds of irrelevancy, a New South Wales court jailed the worker for contempt. She was held for four hours in the Queanbeyan watch-house before her release. Some reports indicate that the briefcase containing the notes remains even today at the Queanbeyan courthouse.

This incident galvanised the issue. The Model Criminal Code Officers Committee began considering national legislation on the issue. New South Wales enacted legislation in 1997, before the committee finalised model provisions. The Model Criminal Code and New South Wales legislation form the basis for these amendments.

A complainant should not have to contemplate disclosing to the very person accused of assaulting them in the first place, and in open court, records containing intensely private


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