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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1818 ..

Protection Orders Bill 2001

Mr Stefaniak , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (11.03): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I seek leave to have my speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows:

I present the Protection Orders Bill 2001.

This Bill is the end product of an extensive technical review of the current restraining orders and protection orders legislation.

The review was undertaken following a number of Supreme Court decisions which highlighted deficiencies in both the current legislation and in the way it is implemented.

In the cases in question, the Supreme Court found that procedural defects in making the restraining orders rendered them invalid and hence no offence of breach of those orders was established. Clearly this is not an acceptable situation.

While the Magistrates Court has instituted changes in procedures to address some of the issues identified by the Supreme Court, the cases have highlighted the need to reconsider and rationalise the current legislation.

The Government was keen that the review should simplify the current legislation in addition to fixing the technical defects. To this end, the Protection Orders Bill consolidates the protection order provisions of the Domestic Violence Act 1986 and the restraining order provisions in Part 10 of the Magistrates Court Act 1930. In addition, the Bill provides for the making of regulations for the essential procedural rules for protection order proceedings.

The Protection Orders Bill provides a single consistent process for dealing with both restraining orders and protection orders.

I would like to briefly highlight for members a few aspects of the Bill.

The most obvious changes made by the Bill are changes to the name of the orders.

While orders granted under the current Domestic Violence Act are formally referred to in the legislation as "protection orders", they are most commonly known in general usage as "domestic violence orders". This common use term is the term that is used in the Protection Orders Bill.

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