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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 2368..

Leave granted.

MS GALLAGHER: I move amendments Nos 1 to 3 circulated in my name together and table a supplementary explanatory statement to the amendments.

The three government amendments I move are to clauses 54, 55 and 56 of the bill. The amendments insert a third subsection into clauses 54, 55 and 56. The new subsections expressly apply strict liability to paragraphs (1) (b) of each clause, which will correct the identified oversight. The effect of the amendments is that the prosecution is required to prove that a person either recklessly or negligently breached the safety duty that resulted in the final element of the offences.

For clause 54 the last element is that the breach exposed a person to substantial risk of death or serious harm; whereas for clause 55, that the breach caused the death or serious harm of a person. For clause 56 the final element is that the breach exposed property or the environment to substantial risk of substantial damage.

Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Electoral Amendment Bill 2006

Debate resumed from 30 March 2006, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition) (5.05): The opposition supports the government's broad objective of the bill, aimed at widening the field of people who could be appointed as chairperson of the electoral commission, which is an independent statutory authority with responsibility for the conduct of elections and referendums of this Assembly. It carries out a vital role on behalf of the ACT community. Therefore, we need to make sure we get legislative changes absolutely right, as they strike at the very core of one of the key bodies that underpins our democratic system here in Canberra.

There is one area where we would seek to amend this bill. We think it is vital that the electoral commission be seen to be doing its job without anything that smacks of any political appointment, such as the appointment of someone who would possibly potentially seek to undermine the magnificent credibility of the commission.

Accordingly, we have just one amendment in relation to ensuring that no new member should be appointed who has ever been a member of any party or political organisation. Apart from that, we are very happy to support the bill. I will of course be proposing that amendment when we consider the bill at the detail stage.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (17.06): The electoral commission is an independent statutory authority committed to providing services for the community which ensure free, fair and democratic elections. It is vital that members of the electoral commission, including the

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