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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 280 ..

MR STEFANIAK: I think there may well be good reason why it is here, Mr Stanhope, but I do hear what you say. I understand that the amendment was suggested by Geoff McDonald from the National Model Criminal Code Officers Committee. When the model bill was drafted the relevant words were inadvertently included by the drafter, who was the New South Wales Parliamentary Counsel, and the ACT and other jurisdictions then copied that error. It was subsequently discovered. These bills are a matter of catch-up, but I will seek some advice on the points you raise, Mr Stanhope. I think there may well be instances where a separate bill might be better, but I will seek advice on that because I have some sympathy with the point you raise there.

I note that you are going to move an amendment. I will wait to hear what you have to say about that before I respond. I thank members for their support in principle to this consolidation act.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (5.20): Mr Speaker, I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 292]. The Attorney-General remarked that perhaps this particular other amendment in relation to the forensic procedures legislation does not require a separate bill. I take the point. Perhaps I overstated it, but I think it does require a more fulsome explanation than was given in the explanatory memorandum. That is probably a more appropriate expression of my concern about the way the amendment was handled. Anybody reading the explanatory memorandum would not have been aware of the significance of the change, and I think that should be avoided wherever possible.

The amendment that I have just moved is being moved to rectify what was quite obviously another mistake in the Forensic Procedures Bill when it was presented last year. I did move an amendment at the time, but unfortunately it did not receive the support of a majority of members.

The point of the amendment is that there are three sections in this act, sections 23, 29, and 34, that are written in very similar terms about what police officers and magistrates must take into account when deciding whether to order forensic samples to be taken from a suspect. Two of those sections, 23 and 34, limit the taking of forensic samples from a person charged with an indictable offence. Section 29 permits the taking of samples from a person charged with any offence. It is quite clear that the word "serious" was simply omitted from section 29 at the drafting stage.

The former Attorney-General was not prepared, however, to examine the question calmly and rationally. He stuck his head in the sand and maintained that a person must be suspected of or charged with an indictable offence despite the evidence of his own eyes. The government took the view that there were absolutely no circumstances in relation to which anybody could ever be required under this act to provide a DNA sample unless

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