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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 694 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

This Bill is not intended to radically alter the way in which we are governed. It is not aimed at usurping the powers and responsibilities of elected representatives. It is aimed at providing direct power to the people to cover those times when elected representatives do not fulfil their role of representing the wishes of the majority. We all know that there are big issues routinely avoided by elected politicians because they are too hard.

Mr Speaker, I take a great deal of pleasure in introducing this Bill today. It is testimony to the Canberra Liberals' commitment to the principle of community participation in law-making. As you know, Mr Speaker, we first introduced this Bill when we were in opposition. It is often said that this is an initiative supported by oppositions and spurned by governments. In this, as in other things, the Canberra Liberal Government has broken the mould. We believe that this election commitment is one of the most significant we have made to the people of Canberra. This Bill is one upon which all sides of politics will be judged simply by their commitment to giving Canberrans a real say in the way in which they are governed.

Mr Speaker, the form of representative government Australia inherited from the nineteenth century has to move with the times, and this is never more the case than in the ACT. It is time to give ordinary voters the power to take the initiative and make decisions. We should be proud to make the ACT the home of community referendums. 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) (11.11): Mr Speaker, I present the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill 1998, together with the explanatory memorandum for this Bill, the Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1998 and the Bail (Amendment) Bill 1998.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill and the three that follow are a package aimed at extending the protective nature of the Domestic Violence Act 1986, particularly in situations where there is an ongoing risk to victims. The Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill and the Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill are similar to the respective Bills introduced last year. Consultation with magistrates subsequent to the introduction of the Bills in the Legislative Assembly last year has resulted in making additional improvements to the legislation.

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