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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 185 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

having done nothing in response to earlier correspondence and discussion, was making a pathetic attempt to switch the blame for his own inactivity. He made a further feeble attempt to recast history yesterday in his response to a question from Mr Stanhope on the matter.

Mr Speaker, I want to deal with retrospectivity. Retrospective legislation is a serious matter which requires serious contemplation. It should only be considered in few and very rare circumstances. But it is a practice of legislatures to deal with retrospective legislation as the need arises. Mr Speaker, Mr Humphries drew attention to the question of retrospectivity in his correspondence to both the Justice and Community Safety Committee and Mr Stanhope. Due consideration, of course, has been given to it, and Labor has agreed. The Leader of the Opposition agreed that, in the circumstances, this legislation was a proper course to adopt.

At this point, Mr Speaker, I would also like to indicate my intention to seek leave to introduce an amendment to the Dangerous Goods Act 1975 (NSW), at the end of my introductory speech. For expedience, I will address that Bill now, in anticipation that I will be able to proceed with the matter today. I want first to apologise to members for the short notice. As you might recall, my office brought it to your attention electronically last evening. It is a piece of legislation which is related to the Occupational Health and Safety (Amendment) Bill. My intentions in relation to this were announced last week.

Mr Humphries: Not in relation to this Bill, they were not - not in relation to the Dangerous Goods Bill.

MR BERRY: Indeed, they were. Mr Humphries, you might want to re-create history again; but it was made clear that I had issued drafting instructions to remedy this situation too - another situation which, of course, you had not bothered with. Mr Speaker, I will be seeking leave to proceed with the matter later today. It is a piece of legislation which is significantly the same as the occupational health and safety legislation. I trust that members will grant leave to deal with the matter in the course of today's proceedings.

In the course of my announcement of my intended amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989, it was brought to my attention that a similar difficulty was about to emerge in respect of the Dangerous Goods Act 1975 (NSW). This would mean that after 13 July 1999, the second anniversary of the death of Katie Bender, the opportunity for a prosecution under that Act lapses. On 10 February, I learnt of this difficulty and immediately issued instructions to remedy that situation. Again, I must thank the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and their efficient and professional staff for producing the Bill after the close of business yesterday. I should also like to add my thanks to the Assembly Secretariat for providing the wherewithal to produce the Bill for introduction today.

This Bill I will seek to introduce is similar in its application to the proposed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Bill; that is, if passed, it will prescribe a one-year period after - - -

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Mr Berry seems to be addressing a Bill which he has not yet introduced.

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