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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (27 March) . . Page.. 676 ..

MS FOLLETT (continuing):

In putting forward this legislation today, the ACT is really playing catch-up in relation to the array of protections against various forms of domestic violence. Again, this is an issue that gives me some concern because in the late 1980s the ACT was, in fact, the trailblazer in terms of domestic violence legislation. We have slipped back, and that is a bad sign.

I will say again that, in our own community, domestic violence is a crime that every possible member of the community, every institution, ought to be tackling. In the years since we have had specific domestic violence legislation, we have had 13 homicides related to domestic violence, and that is in just a few short years. Only a week or so ago yet another woman - a Canberra woman, as it turned out, although she was killed in New South Wales, in Sydney - lost her life after a long period of domestic violence. Those homicides, however, are only the tip of the iceberg in relation to domestic violence. They are the issues that get the media attention, although, unfortunately, they have not galvanised the community into sufficient action to protect those people. Beneath the tip of the iceberg, throughout our community there are a vast number of people, predominantly women, who are suffering pain, suffering humiliation, suffering blighted lives as a result of various forms of domestic violence. Their children also are often the silent victims, the unheard victims of domestic violence. I believe that it is incumbent upon this Assembly to try to ensure that we take all of these issues into account at the first available opportunity.

I commend these two Bills to the Assembly. I am more than happy to discuss either the report or the issues with any member of the Assembly who would like some clarification or some further information. I trust that the Bills will receive the kind of support on a bipartisan basis that I believe they deserve.

MR SPEAKER: Although the Assembly allowed these two Bills to be presented together, it is my intention to put the questions separately.

Debates (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned.


MR MOORE (10.44): Mr Speaker, I present the Tenancy Tribunal (Amendment) Bill 1996.

Title read by Clerk.

MR MOORE: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill seeks to provide a wider coverage of protection for both tenants and landowners by increasing access to the Tenancy Tribunal to those who entered into a lease prior to 1994. Members of the last Assembly may remember that with the passage of the Tenancy Tribunal Bill, which became an Act in 1994, only those who entered into a lease after that date were allowed access to the tribunal in order to have their grievances heard

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