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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 1988 ..

Detail Stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (11.41): Mr Speaker, I move:

Page 8, lines 29 and 21, clause 20, omit "not exceeding 6 months, or both", substitute the following:

"not exceeding -

(a) in the case of a first offence - 2 years; or

(b) in any other case - 5 years;

or both a fine and imprisonment".

In the May sittings I reintroduced a package of legislation that included the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill, which is a replication of the Bill which was presented in December of last year. There was a drafting error. The penalty which applied in an earlier version of the Domestic Violence Act for breach of a protection order was included in the Bill before the Assembly now. The Bill does not therefore reflect the amendment made to the Act in 1996 significantly increasing the penalty for breach of a protection order. Mr Speaker, I think it would be clear to members that the penalty for breaching such a provision should be higher than it is in the Bill. You will see in the amendment that it has increased significantly. It was never the Government's intention to modify the most recently enacted penalty for a breach of a domestic violence order. The Government is of the view that the breach of such orders is a serious offence and warrants a substantial penalty. I therefore seek the Assembly's agreement to the amendment which has been circulated in the chamber.

For the interest of members, I table my letter to Mr Barry Williams, the president of the Lone Fathers Association, in which I respond to a number of issues they raised about this legislation. I hope members will be able to see that the arguments have been considered fully, notwithstanding that we do not agree with any of them.

Amendment agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

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