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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1880 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

the responsibility of administering courts, and they should administer this most basic function. I think it is for the Chief Justice and the Chief Magistrate to accept responsibility for every aspect of the security guidelines. It is for them to decide the terms on which a person can be ejected, searched or questioned about what it is that they are doing in the precincts of the court.

These provisions go to the arrangements for making court security agreements. They set out the responsibility for the administration of those agreements and they provide, quite appropriately-and Ms Tucker touched on this-for the application of the Freedom of Information Act and the Ombudsman Act in respect of the exercise of powers of security officers.

I do not hesitate to acknowledge that these provisions are modelled very much on the Victorian legislation, which we also looked at in our investigations and studies when we received this bill from the government. We came to the same conclusion that Ms Tucker has mentioned-that it seemed to us that the Victorians have developed a security model for courts that quite easily could have been much better utilised than what the government has chosen to do. I do not know why the government did not follow the Victorian model more fully. If they had I think we would have had a far better piece of legislation and each of us, in our own way, would not be now seeking to make this court security legislation more acceptable so that it can be in the best interests of this community.

In conclusion, I would like to refer to proposed new clause 6D. This clause provides quite specifically that the powers that a security officer has under the act can only be exercised in accordance with the appropriate security guidelines. I think it is important that that accountability be there. Once again, the accountability rests with the Chief Justice or the Chief Magistrate through their registrars. It is for the Chief Justice or the Chief Magistrate to determine whether the security officers in their courts are acting and behaving appropriately in the way they deal with people who seek access to those courts.

The right or the capacity of citizens simply to attend a court out of interest is a fundamental principle of justice. The activities of the court always need to be open to scrutiny. If we are to deny anybody that opportunity then it must be under explicit terms and conditions and where there is a clear chain of accountability.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.08): I have already spoken about this amendment. The government would say that leaving the determination of court security arrangements to unelected court officials rather than spelling out the security requirements in legislation enacted by a democratically elected Assembly in fact provides less certainty and transparency for citizens.

There are a number of issues here. I talked about whether the guidelines would be disallowable under Mr Stanhope's proposal, how they are to be published and how they are to be enforced. We would certainly have some concerns about the Assembly handing the courts a blank cheque. Whilst there are some protections under the FOI Act and the Ombudsman Act, I do not think it is really enough to make a contractor subject just to that legislation. The effect of these proposals would be to hand the Ombudsman the job of monitoring a company's performance. We feel that the

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