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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1199 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Ms Tucker for this question. The report she is referring to, of course, is the Community Law Reform Committee's report on domestic violence, which was tabled by me in this place late last year. It is a very significant report. It contains 110 recommendations and constitutes one of the most comprehensive analyses of domestic violence law and related issues in the ACT. The short answer to Ms Tucker's question is that yes, the Government takes this report extremely seriously, and implementation of these recommendations is a matter of concern and priority to the Government, to the extent that we adopt these recommendations.

Since the report has been tabled the Government has been assessing the extent to which the recommendations are appropriate and has been proceeding through a process of public consultation on the recommendations to make sure that those things we choose to do have the support of the community. There are some quite controversial and quite significant changes proposed in the report, as Ms Tucker would know. For example, it is suggested that the Government or the Assembly should revoke the right to bail that people have when they are charged with breaching a domestic violence or protection order. It is a very significant winding back of a particular privilege or right we have granted in the community, and I think it is very important that we carefully assess the community support for those measures before we announce that we will implement them.

The Government has just concluded internal consultation and is presently receiving consultation and submissions from the general public on recommendations made in this report. We have also invited a number of community organisations with an interest in the area to give us considered responses. They include the Victims of Crime Assistance League, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and the Victims of Crime Coordinator. Those responses are, I think, still in the process of coming in. There are some areas in which we are moving, however, at this stage, Mr Speaker. The recommendation concerning the non-right to bail is being dealt with at the moment. Legislation on that subject is, I understand, imminent.

Ms Tucker made reference to the stalking legislation introduced by Ms Follett. The Government has made it very clear that we see a need for stalking legislation, and we are quite prepared to ensure that legislation of that kind gets on the books straightaway. But I must say that I think there are certain problems that arise when a proposal from a publicly funded committee like this is put on the public table, so to speak - not just the table of the Government but a public table - and members decide to take things out of it and implement them on their own initiative rather than through a coordinated approach. The problem is best illustrated with respect to the stalking legislation. We have been involved in discussions with the community on what form the stalking legislation should take.

Mr Berry: Oh, yes! I'll bet!

MR HUMPHRIES: If Mr Berry doubts me, I can make available to him the information we have about that that we have already provided for. Mr Speaker, having done that, we have come up with a number of differences in the approach that we ought to take. They are reflected in the amendments that we have now put on the table to Ms Follett's Bill, which was tabled about a month ago. In other words - - -

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