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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 24 November 2005) . . Page.. 4569 ..

The bill takes the program to its final logical conclusion of stage one of the reform process—a single law that consolidates the provisions of the existing law. This meets the government’s objective of reducing fragmentation of the laws and reducing unnecessary complexity in the laws. It reduces confusion and uncertainty as to which laws apply in the territory and as to what the law is. It eliminates redundant, irrelevant and inappropriate legislation adopted or made on a piecemeal and often uncritical basis. Finally, it reduces archaic language and rationalises drafting styles and techniques. Stage two will involve reform of some of the law of property after wide consultation with the law society and the community, particularly the commercial and retail interests that might be affected by any reforms. I present the Civil Law (Property) Bill 2005 to the Assembly.

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

Crimes (Offences Against Pregnant Women) Amendment Bill 2005

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (10.39): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill will amend the Crimes Act 1900 to make a number of aggravated offences directed to achieve greater protection for pregnant women and their pregnancies. The bill recognises that some acts of violence are worse than others and that violence to a pregnant woman that results in serious harm to her pregnancy or to a child subsequently born alive deserves separate and severe treatment. The bill also reflects a community desire for appropriate sanctions for malicious acts against pregnant women.

During debate on the Crimes Amendment Bill introduced by the opposition, I informed members of the Assembly that I would be introducing the provisions contained in this bill into the Criminal Code. The government is currently in the process of developing chapter 5 of the Criminal Code, which deals with fatal and non-fatal offences against the person.

The subject matter and issues raised in chapter 5 are numerous and complex. They include the construction of offences such as: murder, manslaughter, causing serious harm, the defence of lawful child correction and offences relating to drink spiking, to name just a few. Chapter 5 is a very important component of the Criminal Code and the laws of the territory generally. The government is committed to progressing reform of the criminal law in a comprehensive and appropriate manner. The government is also committed to undertaking an appropriate consultation process in relation to chapter 5. For these reasons it was not possible to introduce chapter 5 this year.

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