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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1200 ..

Mr Moore: It is really a very effective process, an excellent process.

MR HUMPHRIES: The point is that we have had to bring that forward to respond to a member picking up the particular issue. It is my recollection that in the past members have allowed reports of this kind to go through a process of public consultation before they start to pick bits out and implement them. That is certainly what we intend to do, and I think that is generally the preferable way to go. Members here might feel that they do not need public consultation on these issues. I personally believe that they do.

Ms Follett: You had two years of it to get to the report.

MR HUMPHRIES: The recommendations have now been placed on the table after discussion with the community, but they announce specific proposals. People have concerns about them and they have expressed those concerns. The Government has prepared legislation, for example, on the subject of revoking the right to bail. On that subject the Criminal Law Consultative Committee, which consists of various members in the community who are involved with criminal law, has suggested further changes. I am not going to charge in and produce those changes unless I am reasonably sure that they are the right ones. Mr Speaker, I believe that it is important for us to adopt that process. If members wish to pick up things and run with them early, that is fine; but the consequence in the case of the stalking laws is that we have to make major changes to those laws.

MS TUCKER: I ask a supplementary question. I do not think any member here would disagree with community consultation, although it is my understanding that there was extensive consultation in the preparation of this report. As I understand you, you said that generally you are committed to implementing the general thrust of this report. I guess that my next question would be: What is your timeframe?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, on the first point Ms Tucker asked me about, it is true that there was public consultation when a general reference on domestic violence was given to this committee, I think by Mr Collaery, years ago. People were asked to comment on domestic violence generally, and people made submissions about domestic violence; but the community as a whole did not have the chance to see any specific proposals come forward from particular organisations or groups or individuals as part of that process. Now there are specifics on the table. They take the debate much further in a short space of time, and I believe that it is appropriate to have some discussion about those specific proposals. As you will know, there are 110 recommendations, some of which propose quite significant changes to ACT law. I, for one, think we should see what the community thinks about them before we actually implement them all.

In terms of timeframe, Mr Speaker, I hope that before we rise for the break in the middle of this year or very soon thereafter we will be able to table some kind of Government response and indicate that there are areas in which we will be moving quickly to implement legislation. If at that point members wish to pick up certain proposals and run with them themselves, I would not have any great objection to that; but I again say that it is important for us to use the processes we have established with all of these reports - this is the ninth report in this series - before we actually implement the things that are recommended.

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