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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 April 2018) . . Page.. 1156 ..

create problems, and are always in need of significant justification. In this case, the potential problems are not fully explored, and the justification has not been properly provided. This is noted in the scrutiny report, which says that the amendment:

… may potentially allow an extension to occur up to 12 months after the expiry of the scheme. There is also no requirement that any extension to a scheme be made immediately. In the committee’s view, further justification for the possible retrospective extension of a scheme is required.

Perhaps the minister will go to that in his closing remarks. Another amendment which required further explanation was to the Family Violence Act 2016. This is a seemingly technical amendment that the explanatory statement states is to:

… allow victims to register orders to be recognised interstate without having to travel interstate and bring the provision in line with the intent of the national model.

The wording of this amendment has caused confusion. It appears to state that family violence orders obtained under a repealed act do not apply. Upon questioning this point with the Attorney-General’s office, the following response was received:

This is a response to a drafting issue. Part 9 of the Family Violence Act contains a series of criteria that need to be satisfied for a Family Violence Order to be recognised nationally. FVOs made prior to the introduction of the national recognition legislation may not always comply with those criteria. Part 9.6 of the Family Violence Act explicitly recognises this, but existing section 199(3) purports to disapply all of Part 9 to FVOs made under repealed legislation. This change carves out Part 9.6 which deals with how family violence orders made under prior legislation continue in force and across jurisdictions.

Even with that explanation, it is easy to see why some people, even those working in this field, are confused by this amendment. Nevertheless, and despite the convoluted construction, the amendment is geared towards achieving a desirable outcome. Furthermore, some certainty can be had by the existence of section 199(5) of the FVA. With regard to the safeguard, this clause does appear to be an attempt to make family violence orders made interstate and under repealed acts more certain under the current act, and we will support it.

The last set of amendments I wish to talk about is also a fix-up, and is one of the poorest examples that I have seen in this Assembly. It is an amendment relating to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (ACT) Act 2013. These series of amendments are designed to keep the ACT laws consistent with the national law. However, there are two changes worth noting: it makes changes that are retrospective; and it extends time frames for notifying the Assembly of changes from six sitting days to 20 sitting days. Together, these mean that there could be lengthy periods where the laws are deemed to be in effect but the Assembly has not yet been notified or had the opportunity to reflect or object.

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