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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3281 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Dangerous Goods Act, which, members will recall, were amended in this place with retrospective effect to deal with an omission, either deliberate or by incompetence, in relation to those - - -

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. I think the suggestion that there may have been a deliberate omission in - - -

MR SPEAKER: It is quite offensive.

Mr Humphries: Yes, it is, and I think that it should be withdrawn.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, please, Mr Berry.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, offensive or not - - -

MR SPEAKER: No, Mr Berry, the suggestion is that it was deliberate.

MR BERRY: Okay. I would have to say that it was either deliberate or due to incompetence, whichever you like. You cannot - - -

MR SPEAKER: Look - - -

MR BERRY: What do you want me to do?

MR SPEAKER: Just withdraw the word "deliberate".

MR BERRY: Okay. Incompetence will do, then, okay.

MR SPEAKER: I do not know whether Mr Humphries is going to take offence at that.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, no action was taken in relation to this matter. We learnt about the result of this inaction when it was explained in the Canberra Times that, because of the limitation period prescribed in the Magistrates Court Act, people would not be able to be prosecuted under other Acts which did not have specific reference. In the case of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, it had not expired when the Attorney-General was first notified about it, but it did expire later. In the case of the Dangerous Goods Act, I think we managed to amend it before it expired.

In any event, there was much protest from the Attorney-General about the need for retrospective action in relation to one of those pieces of legislation, or both, to ensure that they applied. The remedy provided by the Labor Party in this case was what was intended in the legislation in the first place. The Attorney-General was deeply embarrassed about having been found out in relation to this inaction over something that

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