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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1875 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

As I said, Mr Speaker, this is a completely different approach to that taken by the government. The Labor Party understands the need for security in the courts. But unlike the government, we believe the courts should be in charge of the security. The chief judicial officers and their registrars should take charge and be accountable for what happens in the provision of that service.

It is self-evident, of course, that if members accept this approach then they will support my amendments. Other amendments will be moved today, particularly by Mr Rugendyke and the Attorney. There is some overlapping of the amendments and we will have to deal with that complexity.

My amendment No 1 relates to clause 5 of the bill. Clause 5 in the government's bill provides, under a number of circumstances, for the right of a person to enter and remain in an area of court premises that is open to the public. The first circumstance is that the person complies with all orders made by the judge or magistrate, et cetera. That is quite consistent with what I am proposing. Secondly, the clause provides that the person complies with all requirements made by a security officer under the act; and, thirdly, that if the person wishes to enter or remain in a courtroom where a court is sitting or about to sit there is seating for the person in the courtroom.

It is my contention that it would be more appropriate to amend the second consideration by providing that a person may remain in a court if the person complies with the appropriate security guidelines. In my amendments, which I will come to later, I provide for a regime whereby the judicial officer in charge of either the Supreme Court or the Magistrates Court-in other words, the Chief Justice or the Chief Magistrate-is required to arrange or provide for the making of security guidelines. Therefore, the person's capacity or right to remain in the court would be as per those security guidelines.

The amendments provide for consistency in the overall scheme that I am proposing-namely, that the court accept responsibility for the provision of security, that the court arrange for security guidelines to be developed, and that the court arrange for the circumstances in which those security guidelines are administered.

Similarly, I think the government's proposal that a person cannot remain in a court if there is no seat available is unnecessarily restrictive. There will be certain circumstances in some courts-I am sure it will not arise often-where it would be quite appropriate for a person to stay.

To make sense of my amendments, one needs to understand the overall scheme that I am proposing. I will leave it at that and commend amendment No 1 to the Assembly.

MS TUCKER (3.48): I would like to make a couple of general comments on Mr Stanhope's amendment to clause 5. We voted against the bill during the in-principle stage on the grounds that no clear need had been demonstrated for what we saw as very draconian powers. Since that time we have spoken with the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and other community organisations that regularly support clients in the Magistrates Court. We have also spoken with the Registrar of the Magistrates Court.

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