Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3304 ..
MS TUCKER (10.18): The Greens will be supporting this Bill. I appreciate Mr Stanhope's pointing out of the issues that were highlighted in the scrutiny of Bills committee report because I think it is very important that members of this place are aware of those concerns. I equally found this quite difficult to make a decision on, even though I am absolutely clear on the need to protect people who are victims of domestic violence and feel very passionately that we should do that. I also feel equally strongly about the rights of individuals, and undue trespass on rights is not something that we take lightly.
I note in the scrutiny of Bills committee report No. 9 the concern that the position of a person detained under clause 19J compares unfavourably with a person charged with a criminal offence. I think Mr Stanhope's proposal to have a sunset clause on this and some kind of review is very sensible. I hope members support that so that we can get an understanding of what the implications are of this sort of legislation.
I also note that in the ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council's "Strategic Priorities 1997-99" it states as part of its policy definition of domestic violence that the safety and wellbeing of those subjected to domestic violence must be the first priority of any response. Further, in its criminal justice definition, it says:
The primary objective of all interventions by all criminal justice and related agencies is to ensure the safety of the victim and any children involved in a family violence incident. A secondary, but no less important objective, is to hold the perpetrator responsible for his/her abusive and violent conduct.
I guess that is the bottom line here. This is about protecting women and children from potential violence. We know that many victims of domestic violence are subjected to further violence, and in some cases are killed when under protection orders. It is a very serious issue and that is why we will support this Bill. I think it is so important that we enable officers who have a responsibility to deal with these difficult and violent situations to be able to deal with them appropriately and to protect those women and children.
I have to say that I do not know why four hours is necessary. That is the other side of it. I guess it is about resources. I know that this is probably only about weekends but if we - - -
Mr Humphries: It is not about resources, Kerrie.
MS TUCKER: It is not about resources, says Mr Humphries. My understanding was that this was because it may be difficult to get an interim order quickly on a weekend.
Mr Humphries: That is not about resources. That is about finding a magistrate.
MS TUCKER: That is about finding a magistrate, Mr Humphries said; that is not about resources. I would have thought a magistrate to do the work is a resource. That is the point I am making. If you cannot find a magistrate for four hours - - -