Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4259 ..

MR SPEAKER: May I remind members that it is 2 o'clock in the morning. I appreciate that you want to debate these matters out, but I would urge you to consider the items that are being debated, and please let us not have too much repetition at this point. I do not want to deny people the opportunity to put their point of view, but please let us be conscious of the time, and the fact that there are other members who have certain responsibilities tomorrow morning, two of whom I know are leaving town.

Mr Stanhope: Mr Speaker, I have great respect for the chair. This is an incredibly important piece of legislation.

MR SPEAKER: I have no doubt about that.

Mr Stanhope: It must be debated in full. We had an opportunity to adjourn this matter. It should have been adjourned. Members must be free to contribute to this debate in the way that they feel is appropriate.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (2.00 am): Mr Speaker, I will speak very briefly on this amendment moved by Mr Rugendyke. We have been urged by members to relax the severity of the bar on access to pain and suffering. The Government has put forward a scheme which provides only very limited access to payments, not in the nature of payments for damages but in the nature of a solatium for permanent or extremely serious injury. The Government has been prevailed upon to compromise the severity of that position and it indicates its intention to support the relaxation of that rule with respect to the class of people referred to in Mr Rugendyke's amendment No. 2.

Mr Speaker, there are all sorts of places at which you could draw the line between those who might be eligible for high levels of assistance and those who are not. The Government accepts that there is a case for some relaxation of its view. It accepts that there is a particularly good case for people who are subjected on a daily basis to exposure to problems arising from criminal activity. No policeman who serves even a few years in the police force would not suffer some significant injury at some point or another unless they are permanently driving a desk, and the result, Mr Speaker, is that such people deserve, I think, some special consideration. I have taken the same view about victims of sexual offences, and I think that is a reasonable position to take.

Question put:

That the amendment (Mr Rugendyke's ) be agreed to.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .