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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 3102 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

what it was before the Justice and Community Safety Committee investigated it. It has been turned back to precisely where it has always been. In other words, the Chief Magistrate appoints somebody for two or three months.

Then, after two or three months, the person appointed as the Children's Court Magistrate sticks up their hand and says, "Chief Magistrate, I have done my stint in this job which none of us really want. This is a bit of a backwater, with no career prospects". They put up their hand and say, "Chief Magistrate, please revoke my declaration as Children's Court Magistrate". That is what is going to happen. We will revert back to where we were. We will simply turn this position over every three months or so. That is exactly what is going to happen.

In his presentation speech, Mr Rugendyke expressed his support for the philosophy of a specialist Children's Court Magistrate. That is what Mr Rugendyke actually expressed his support for; the position of a specialist Children's Court Magistrate.

At 5.00 pm the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 34; the motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MR STANHOPE: As I was saying, in his presentation speech, Mr Rugendyke expressed his support for the philosophy of a Children's Court Magistrate. He said that his amendments remove aspects causing difficulties in practice and will improve the workability and flexibility of the court. As I have just said, though, their impact will return us to where we were. Some members may feel the purpose of this Bill will be to end what I described earlier as a sorry story which does no credit to the legislative process. I would like to say in conclusion that Labor will support this Bill. We will not oppose it. But the Labor Party will revisit this matter, and members should not regard this as the end of the story.

MR OSBORNE (5.03): I stand to echo the sentiments of Mr Stanhope. I, like him, am disappointed and frustrated at what has happened since this legislation was passed. The committee which I chair undertook a lengthy inquiry into the matter. We heard from numerous experts in the field. I do not think it would be unfair of me to say, without having any information in front of me, that the vast majority of people who appeared before that committee and who made submissions were very much in favour of the legislation.

I may be wrong, but I do recall a report from the previous Assembly, by a committee of which Ms Tucker was the chair, which was with us on that same issue. It is very disappointing that we have to come back here today because of the actions of one man to resolve this problem. I was warned by my colleague Mr Rugendyke to have a look at standing order 54. I have had a look at that. Perhaps you could clarify whether "offensive words" are swear words or whether they can mean anything.

Mr Moore: Imputations.

MR OSBORNE: Imputations. Mr Speaker, it is very clear to me that in this round the Chief Magistrate has got what he wanted. He clearly spat the dummy.

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