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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 10 March 2005 2005) . . Page.. 856 ..

number of fundraising events, as a barrel draw prize or as a door prize, a table prize or a raffle prize. Wine is a product of enormous utility in terms of its fundraising capacity or appeal. This amendment, to some extent, acknowledges that and will allow charities and non-profit organisations within the territory access to $10,000 worth of wine per year for resale. I can see immediately the attractiveness of that arrangement for people seeking to raise funds on behalf of the community. They are two very good amendments.

Another amendment of some significance, although once again it appears to be quite minor and technical, is the amendment to the Justices of the Peace Act to provide guidelines for the appointment and termination of appointment of justices of the peace. The amendments set out the circumstances in which the appointment of a justice of the peace may be ended, including when he or she has been convicted of a serious criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for at least one year. An appointment may also be ended when a justice of the peace becomes bankrupt or when the person is suffering from physical or mental incapacity that substantially affects their ability to exercise their functions.

Mr Stefaniak and I have both received representations concerning a person who, many years ago, had been appointed a justice of the peace and had since been involved in activity which, in Mr Stefaniak’s opinion and certainly in mine, rendered him unfit to continue as a justice of the peace and whose appointment we would both wish to be terminated. Unfortunately, in the face of an obdurate refusal to relinquish the appointment, I, as attorney, had absolutely no capacity to terminate the appointment as a justice of the peace. This amendment will regularise such a situation, should one occur in the future. It is appropriate in relation to an office of some standing within the community.

Justices of the peace do a sterling service for the community. Every justice of the peace with whom I have been associated takes the responsibility, the role and the honour of being a justice of the peace very seriously. They are diligent and, quite rightly, are proud of their appointment and of the reputation of justices of the peace generally. It is important that we protect and nurture their pride in being a justice of the peace and serving the community through that appointment. Regularising the appointment process and, unfortunately, providing for a circumstance in which an appointment might be terminated are reforms that are overdue.

Dr Foskey has indicated that she does propose an amendment in relation to the conditions of licensing agents. The government has viewed the amendment and I can indicate now that we will not be supporting it. It essentially goes to the issue of the term “spent conviction” under our spent conviction laws. I will discuss the amendment when we get to the detail stage, but I will just signal now that the government does not support the amendment. We have spent conviction legislation.

The position in relation to spent convictions and the extent to which a person should essentially bear the burden of the conviction that they suffered has been set in the ACT, for a range of offences, at 10 years, including the sorts of issues that are raised in the Agents Act. The government’s position is that we see nothing to justify changing, essentially through an amendment to the Agents Act, the operations of the Spent Convictions Act. But I will deal with that in the detail stage. At this stage I thank members for their support in principle of these amendments.

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