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I turn now to the area of law and justice. The former ACT Government implemented a number of legislative reforms in accordance with the recommendations of the royal commission. For example, the Evidence (Amendment) Act 1993 and the Crimes (Amendment) Act 1993 implemented recommendations on the use of interpreters in courts. The Crimes (Amendment) Act 1993, together with the Crimes Act 1914 of the Commonwealth, provided the assistance of an interpreter to a person being questioned. The Crimes (Amendment) Act (No. 2) 1993, which implements recommendations on sentencing, contains the principle that imprisonment should be utilised only as a last resort.
Mr Connolly: Mr Speaker, I do not like to take a point of order on a statement the Opposition is no doubt endorsing, but there is absolutely no member of the Government present while Mrs Carnell is speaking.
MR SPEAKER: Are you drawing attention to the state of the house?
Mr Moore: There is an adequate number of members here.
MR SPEAKER: A quorum is present. Please call for a quorum in future, Mr Connolly, if you want a quorum.
MRS CARNELL: The Coroners (Amendment) Act (No. 2) 1993 addresses the recommendations in relation to coronial inquests. The Domestic Relationships Act 1994 gives effect to most of the recommendations concerning relationships of the Australian Law Reform Commission's report on customary law. The Australian Federal Police, ACT Region, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council worked together to review and restructure the Aboriginal-Police Liaison Committee. The committee now comprises advisory council members, members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and officers from several agencies, including the AFP.
Mr Speaker, the royal commission spoke of the need for a deeper understanding between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the wider society, and of each other's culture, and that is very important. The commission found that non-Aboriginal society needed to change its attitudes towards Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders if the inequalities of society were to be addressed. Additionally, in 1992 the Council of Australian Governments endorsed the national commitment to improved outcomes in the delivery of programs and services for Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. One of the principles of the national commitment is empowerment, self-determination and self-management.
Public awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and issues was raised by the previous ACT Government through a range of initiatives during the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples and National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee Week. An Aboriginal woman, Ms Grace Coe, was named Canberra Woman of the Year in 1994. This was in recognition of her significant contribution to women in the Canberra region. Ms Coe at that stage was a member of the ACT Women's Consultative Council - another council we are in the process of reappointing. Individual ACT Government Service agencies have also developed cultural awareness training programs appropriate to their specific needs.