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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 1941 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

As the Assembly is aware, the Liquor Act has undergone significant amendment in recent years with particular focus on responsible serving of alcohol issues. The amendments contained in this Bill continue that trend and reaffirms the Government's commitment to ensure that the liquor industry is able to be regulated in a manner which ensures liquor is sold and consumed responsibly and that licensees discharge their responsibilities in that regard.

I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.58): Mr Speaker, I present the Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

I will read my presentation speech because this Bill will need to be debated tomorrow and it is a quite important Bill. I just want to put some comments on the record. Last week, a decision by a single judge in the Supreme Court had the effect of throwing into doubt hundreds of restraining orders under Part 10 of the Magistrates Court Act 1930 which had been made with the consent of all parties.

I want to make it clear to members of the Assembly that the Government does not necessarily agree with the interpretation of the relevant provisions by the judge in that matter and that, in the ordinary course of events, the Territory would be expected to appeal the decision to the Full Bench of the Supreme Court. However, because the decision has the capacity to affect hundreds of restraining orders already made, possibly leaving hundreds of Canberrans without the legal protection afforded by restraining orders, it is the Government's view that immediate action is needed to ensure that those members of the community who have obtained restraining orders by consent are, in fact, afforded the protection which, until last week, they believed that they had. I am asking the Assembly to give its urgent consideration to, and support for, this Bill.

The Bill clarifies that the procedural rules contained in the Magistrates Court (Civil Jurisdiction) Act do apply to proceedings in relation to restraining orders, except where specifically excluded or modified. It puts beyond any doubt that, where both the applicant and the respondent so consent, orders under Part 10 of the Magistrates Court Act 1930 can be made without admissions by the respondent or other proof. Finally, the Bill ensures the validity of consent orders which have already been made and proceedings already under way for prosecutions of breaches of those orders.

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