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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 February 2018) . . Page.. 436 ..


defence that, where there is a reasonable excuse, the act is not an offence. The onus would therefore be on the prosecution to prove that the act was not reasonable. The Greens welcome this amendment as it provides an important clarification.

The Greens have closely considered this bill, including the government amendments. We acknowledge the concerns of the Bar Association, particularly in relation to the grooming offence. However, I note that this provision has the support of the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre, the Human Rights Commission and Legal Aid. The royal commission has, unfortunately, shown us that there is a need to change the way that we prosecute sexual offences, particularly relating to offences against children. Too many offenders were not successfully prosecuted due to the difficulty of particularising the elements of a sexual offence. Therefore, the ACT Greens are supporting the government amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (5.03): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 444]. This is the second amendment to clause 4. I wish to note the comments made by the shadow attorney-general in relation to my previous speech and what was said about the raising of concerns. I point out that I made no reference to the Bar Association in relation to the trivialisation of these matters. I did not suggest in that statement that raising concerns was itself trivialising in any way. I presume that was simply a mishearing by Mr Hanson and not a deliberate twist of what was said. I would refer him to Hansard when it is published later on.

In relation to the second amendment, it amends the definition of “sexual act” in section 56(12) to clarify that the offence applies retrospectively to conduct that was unlawful at the time that it was committed. This is intended to provide further clarity that past acts which were not criminal at the time they occurred cannot be used to prove the offence of maintaining a sexual relationship.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 5 and 6, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 7.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (5.05): I move amendment No 3 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 444]. This amendment creates a defence of reasonable excuse in section 66. The government is moving this amendment following consultation with the Bar Association. I have tabled a supplementary explanatory statement to offer greater clarity about the purpose of the amendment.


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