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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 774 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

In the case of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (where an inquiry is held) the appropriate maximum would perhaps be two years.

That was my suggestion at the time. That is what I said. Some of the nonsense which the Attorney has extended today as to what we did or did not think really is not consistent with what happened.

There was also the issue that the Attorney had written to Mr Osborne. There was, in my mind, a suggestion that the Attorney had made some arrangement with Mr Osborne and his committee to look at this matter and I was conscious at the time that I was simply extending what I thought to be an additional view. It just goes to the fact that the Attorney took his eye off the ball. He had a letter to me which I responded to, in which I clearly indicated that I would support at that time in May, at a time when I knew the then limitation period had not expired, an amendment to extend the limitation period. I was clear and unequivocal in what I and, speaking on behalf of the Labor Party, the Labor Party would have supported at that time.

Mr Humphries: You did not address the question of retrospectivity.

MR STANHOPE: I was unequivocal in what I would do at the time.

Mr Humphries: It was a weasel-worded letter, Jon, and you know it.

MR STANHOPE: I did not need to specifically address the question of retrospectivity.

Mr Moore: Well, address it now with this legislation.

MR STANHOPE: I will address it now. The issue of retrospectivity was exhaustively addressed by Mr Osborne's committee, the scrutiny of Bills committee, and we have all had the advantage of reading and digesting its report.

Mr Moore: Without Wayne's most recent amendments.

MR STANHOPE: We do not need Wayne's most recent amendments. They do not detract from anything that the scrutiny of Bills committee said on this very difficult issue. The Attorney is right; there is much of what the Attorney says about retrospectivity with which we all agree. There is much of what Mr Rugendyke said about retrospectivity with which we all agree. But they have both misunderstood the impact and the effect of what it is that we are here doing. It is interesting that most of the opposition that exists around the world in relation to retrospectivity is, and can be summarised, in article 15.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It sets it out succinctly, stating:

No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which -

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