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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3310 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I will not go on any more except to say it is important that we pass this Bill. This legislation is about protecting vulnerable people, and it particularly refers to women. Those people are vulnerable people and they deserve to have the protection of the law. A major omission of our law until now is that it has not adequately provided for after-hours applications and after-hours service on a proposed respondent, and this Bill now achieves that. I urge the Assembly, strongly, to support those provisions.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a corrigendum to present?

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, Mr Speaker, I have an explanatory memorandum corrigendum to table.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you.

MR RUGENDYKE: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak to this Bill.

Leave granted.

MR RUGENDYKE: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and thank you, members. Mr Speaker, I feel compelled to clarify for the benefit of members, and particularly for Ms Tucker, the practical application of this legislation. Police have often been in a situation where they have needed to take action in relation to domestic violence outside the operating hours of the courts. This is a very important piece of legislation which enables those duties to be performed and for action to be taken to protect, as we have heard, mainly women from domestic violence during the evenings and over the weekends. It is very necessary to be able to bring offenders before a magistrate at the earliest convenience in these situations, and this legislation enables that.

I also wish to place on the record my concerns regarding Mr Stanhope's proposed amendment which would create a sunset clause which effectively removes the whole of this part of the legislation. I understand that Mr Stanhope's concerns relate specifically to the provisions in proposed section 19J. Mr Speaker, I simply record my concerns. I am not sure whether or not there may have been a different way to do that without jeopardising the intent of this otherwise very effective and sensible Bill. I will watch with interest how this proposed amendment from Mr Stanhope operates in practice if it is included in the legislation.

MR OSBORNE: I seek leave to speak, Mr Speaker.

Leave granted.

MR SPEAKER: Members, I would remind you that the Minister closes debate. If you wish to speak, please be present and speak before the Minister closes the debate. However, leave has been granted, Mr Osborne. Proceed.

MR OSBORNE: Are you in a rush to get home, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: No, I am not. I am just trying to organise things so that this follows in some normal sense. It is not Rafferty's rules. Proceed.

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