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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 691 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

While maintaining a register of births, deaths and marriages is a basic and important community service, there are some aspects of the registration process which provide benefits to specific individuals. It is consistent with Government policy that the costs of such services should be paid by those who use them, rather than being passed on to the general community. Recording of a change of name is one of these services. A person can change his or her name without applying to the Registrar-General. By registering a change of name a person gains an official record of the change which can be used to conveniently meet that person's obligations to satisfy others in the community that the owner of both names is the same person. Recording a change of name on a person's birth record gives that person the advantage of having a birth certificate which shows the name currently being used by that person. Both registration and recording of name changes are services provided to a particular person rather than to the community. People who use those services should be required to pay a fee to cover at least the administrative costs of providing the service. Recording a change of sex on a person's birth record is, similarly, a service to the person concerned.

These amendments do not involve any change to current policy on charges for Registrar-General services. They are necessary so that no doubt arises about the continuation of that policy. It is also important for consistency with other States and the Northern Territory that charges for these services are maintained. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (11.02): Mr Speaker, I present the Crimes (Amendment) Bill (No. 4) 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Crimes (Amendment) Bill (No. 4) 1998 addresses the widespread public concern which followed an ACT Magistrates Court decision last year to acquit a defendant of assault on the ground that the defendant was too intoxicated to form an intent to commit the offence. It must be stressed, Mr Speaker, that in introducing this legislation the Government makes no comment upon the application of the law by the Magistrates Court in that case. To do so would be quite inappropriate. However, it is entirely appropriate for the Government, and this Assembly, to consider whether as a matter of policy the law in the ACT on the issue of intoxication is in keeping with community standards and expectations. There can be little doubt, having regard to the understandable public outcry over the law on this matter, that a change to the law is required.

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