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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4028..


MS GALLAGHER

(continuing):

also in place to identify instances of misconduct in other jurisdictions where there have been no criminal charges or convictions.

Employees of the Department of Education, Youth and Family Services who have contact with children and who are charged with a sexual offence are immediately suspended under the Public Sector Management Act, pending the outcome of those charges.

Bill of Rights Consultative Committee

Paper and statement by minister

MR STANHOPE

(Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following papers (3.47):

ACT Bill of Rights Consultative Committee-Report-Towards an ACT Human Rights Act, dated May 2003.

ACT Bill of Rights Consultative Committee-Report-Towards an ACT Human Rights Act-Government Response.

I see leave to make a statement on the response.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE

: Mr Speaker, I announced yesterday my intention to introduce into the Assembly a bill for a human rights act to protect the civil and political rights of the people of the ACT. Today, I have presented the report of the ACT Bill of Rights Consultative Committee Towards an ACT Human Rights Act and a detailed government response to the report.

The government believes that the protection of the rights of everyone in the ACT is fundamental to its role in running the territory. Consideration of a bill of rights for the ACT was part of the government's election platform. We made clear our commitment to introduce a bill of rights and to engage in a comprehensive process of public consultation on how this could be best achieved in a way that is appropriate for the ACT.

In April 2002, I appointed the ACT Bill of Rights Consultative Committee to inquire into a possible bill of rights for the ACT. After an extensive and exciting consultation process, the committee presented its report Towards an ACT Human Rights Act in May 2003. The consultation process included the taking of written and oral submissions, a series of seminars, and a process of deliberative polling. In keeping with our commitment to open debate, the report was released to the public.

I thank the chair of the committee, Professor Hilary Charlesworth, and each of the committee members-Professor Larissa Behrendt, Ms Penelope Layland and Ms Elizabeth Kelly-and my department for their dedication and expertise in bringing this report to fruition. The report is of outstanding quality and comprehensive in its consideration of the issues.


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