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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 (19 October) . . Page.. 3350..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

many Australian people are not sympathetic to the circumstances in which people become homeless.

I think we are in a political environment, globally and nationally, where just being different in the streets or just evidently having a mental illness could be seen as sufficient order for an ASBO. Let us face it. That is a little bit like preventative detention, is it not? I believe it breaches our idea of human rights in this territory.

MR SPEAKER: The discussion is concluded.

Human Rights Commission Amendment Bill 2006

Debate resumed from 17 October 2006, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (5.39), in reply: This bill provides for the creation of a new human rights commission. It will consist of specialist commissioners who will deal with complaints about discrimination, health services, disability services, services for older people and services for children and young people in our community. The Human Rights Commission consists of the offices of the Disability and Community Services Commissioner, Discrimination Commissioner, Human Rights Commissioner, Health Commissioner, and Children and Young People Commissioner.

The new structure provides for one commissioner to perform the dual role of Human Rights Commissioner and Discrimination Commissioner, one commissioner to undertake the dual role of Disability and Services Commissioner and Children and Young People Commissioner, and one commissioner to perform the role of Health Services Commissioner.

The human rights commissioner role and discrimination commissioner role have already been separated as a result of amendments moved by Dr Foskey during debate on the original bill in 2005. These amendments simply provide the established framework for the human rights commissioner position.

Initially, it was intended that the Human Rights Commission would consist of a number of specialist commissioners and a president who would be responsible for administration of the commission and would be responsible for conciliating complaints. In this way, commissioners would be relieved of administrative tasks, with a statutory division of the complaints and conciliation roles.

In developing this bill the government took into account the need to clarify the role of the commission as an independent third party in the conciliation process whose task is to assist parties involved in a complaint to resolve the concerns giving rise to the complaint. Conciliation will be kept separate from the process of considering complaints by having it carried out by trained staff of the commission, or by specialist consultants engaged by the commission, where appropriate. This bill will reinforce, strengthen and improve the current structure of the commission so it can provide superior services to the community and the government.


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