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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1876 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Consequently, I can see that there is a need for some kind of security arrangement. I can see the need to allow the court to employ appropriately qualified and trained guides and officers who can ensure that weapons are not brought into the courts or into the immediate vicinity of the courts, and who are able to defuse potentially dangerous situations without resorting to physical force. Domestic violence cases in particular involve victims of the crime having to come into close proximity to the offender, and this is often frightening and dangerous.

The Domestic Violence Crisis Service will arrange a police escort and other security measures in cases where they expect a particular danger. However, there are also occasions when the unexpected occurs or when police cannot attend a hearing. There are substantial problems with the way the bill seeks to address this need. The scrutiny of bills committee pointed out a range of problems and, through consultation, other members have developed quite a few amendments. However, there are so many problems with the legislation that it would have made more sense for the government to take it back and start again. Obviously the government is now amending its own legislation. The bill we have is not as good as it could be, and I am not quite sure what we will end up with as a result of all of these amendments.

There are other legislative models in Australia which address this problem. I have looked at the Victorian legislation and I have to say it is a bit surprising that the government chose to propose legislation which included some of what we would consider to be the more aggressive elements of the Victorian model but which did not include the elements that ensure that the arrangements for security officers are open, that the lines of authority are clear and ultimately rest with the court, and that there are avenues for appeal through FOI and through the Ombudsman.

Anyway, we will work with what we have before us today and hope that we end up with a reasonable piece of legislation. We will be supporting Mr Stanhope's first amendment, which seeks to remove any ambiguity about the power of a security officer. The amendment would also require people to comply with the appropriate security guidelines which, as defined in Labor's amendment No 12, are to be made by the relevant authority of the court.

Labor's amendment No 1 seeks to omit paragraphs (b) and (c) of clause 5 and substitute paragraphs which broaden the "if there is no space, you cannot come in" provision to all areas of the court and find room in the court for seating.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (3.51): Mr Speaker, I also have amendments to move to the bill. I also intend to give an overview of the legislation because, as Mr Stanhope rightly says, it has been quite a while since we debated this bill-it has had more starts than Phar Lap and has not quite got past the post.

MR SPEAKER: We have to settle Mr Stanhope's amendment No 1 first.


: Very good, Mr Speaker. I will do that but I will also indicate the government's position. As I advised Mr Stanhope yesterday, we will be supporting Mr Rugendyke's amendments. We will be amending one of his amendments to ensure that clauses 9 (3) and 9 (4) are retained. I will be moving all of my amendments, with

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