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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3558..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

I draw the attention of members to the recommendations of that committee that call on the Sixth Assembly to consider this report. As there is insufficient time for the Fifth Assembly to do that, it would be unfair to place impositions on members who may not be able to consider that report in the fullness of time. I urge all members to look at that report and to consider its implications. I hope that the Sixth Assembly will be able to debate fully the need for a code of conduct for members.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Suspension of standing and temporary orders

Motion (by Mr Wood) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day No 20, Private Members' business, relating to the Discrimination Amendment Bill 2003 (No 3), being called on and debated cognately with order of the day No 3, Executive business, relating to the Discrimination Amendment Bill 2004 (No 2).

Discrimination Amendment Bill 2004 (No 2)

[Cognate bill:

Discrimination Amendment Bill 2004]

Debate resumed from 24 June 2004, on motion by Mr Wood on behalf of Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SPEAKER: I remind members that in debating order of the day No 3, executive business, they may also address their remarks to order of the day No 20, private members business.

MR STEFANIAK (5.47): Mr Speaker, I have already spoken to the private members bill. We have already closed debate on that.

The opposition will be supporting the government's Discrimination Amendment Bill (No 2), which amends the Discrimination Act by clarifying the special measures provision in section 27 in order to put its meaning beyond doubt. Ironically, given that a majority of the Assembly will reject our very sensible Discrimination Amendment Bill 2004, which would allow for positive discrimination to address a gender imbalance in any profession, trade, occupation or calling, section 27 of the act, which the government's bill amends, is a special measures provision that deals with affirmative action-or positive discrimination.

The purpose of section 27 is to prevent people from outside the relevant class from complaining about services targeted at those within the class. As a result of past decisions by the AAT and the Supreme Court, section 27 has been misconstrued and, despite an amendment made by the Carnell government to section 27 in 1999 to clarify that-and the full Federal Court decision in Richardson's case-there is still some confusion about the scope and application of section 27.

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