Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2741..
involved in an alleged offence - for example, "a large commercial quantity"or "a commercial quantity"- by aggregating the amount of drugs trafficked over repeated transactions and aggregating different kinds of drugs involved on one occasion. The purpose of these measures is to enable the infliction of severe penalties on those who deal in bulk by an accumulation of small sales.
Mr Speaker, the enactment of this bill will ensure that the ACT has a modern and more effective regime for dealing with the illegal drug trade. More importantly it will encourage other jurisdictions to enact their part of the proposed uniform scheme and thereby enormously improve the effectiveness of this nation's efforts to eradicate this contemptible trade.
I commend this bill and the explanatory statement to the Assembly.
Document incorporated by the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage
Mr Speaker, I present to the Assembly the Discrimination Amendment Bill 2004.
This bill will amend the Discrimination Act 1991 by clarifying the special measures provision in section 27 of the Act in order to put its meaning beyond doubt.
The special measures provision is the 'affirmative action' or 'positive discrimination' provision in the Discrimination Act. Its purpose is to prevent people from outside the relevant class complaining about services targeted to those within the relevant class and in need of it.
For example, it is intended to prevent men from complaining about women's specific health services or non-aboriginal people from complaining about their exclusion from programs for Aboriginal people. That is the intent of section 27. It is intended to help classes of people with special needs.
Past decisions by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the Supreme Court misconstrued section 27 as a blanket exemption, which blocked all claims of discrimination arising out of a special measures program. The Full Court of the Federal Court in Richardson's case corrected this misinterpretation and concluded that section 27 did not protect unjustifiable differences in treatment done in the course of administering a special measures program. In 1999, section 27 was amended to ensure that an intended beneficiary is able to challenge a discriminatory act that is not relevant to achieving the purpose of the program.
Despite the Federal Court decision and the 1999 amendment, there are still differing views about the scope and application of section 27. The current law on special measures continues to be the subject of uncertainty in the community. In particular, there has been concern whether people with special needs are effectively protected against discriminatory practices in the provision of special measures services. ACT Council of Social Services has argued that the relevance test in section 27(2) prevents intended beneficiaries from successfully challenging discrimination because virtually all acts undertaken may be construed as relevant to achieving the purpose of the program.