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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (15 June) . . Page.. 1890 ..

MS TUCKER (4.57): We will be supporting this amendment. Clause 13 defines who is required to attend the court and requires permission from the court for a security officer to order such a person out of the premises. Labor's alternative adds the requirement that exclusion must be with the leave of the relevant court-it must be assumed that there is a relevant court-depending on why the person is there, and only after being warned by the officer.

I believe that a combination of Labor's amendment and the original clause would result in a better clause. Labor have removed the definition of who is required to attend a court, leaving it to the authority of the relevant court. It is not clear which of the court's staff will be able to authorise the making of that decision. Is it the magistrate, the clerk or administrative staff of the court system?

We will support Labor's amendment in preference to the existing two subclauses, because at least it gives a person a chance to be warned when they are in danger of being ordered to leave. This is preferable, not because that is acceptable behaviour but rather because it is understandable that someone under the strain of a court appearance may act in difficult ways. A lot of the effect of this clause in settling a menacing or disorderly person will depend on the skills of the security officer. I can only rely on a report on victims of crime and I express the wish that officers continue to rely on their negotiating skills.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.59): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I understand the officers certainly do have very good negotiating skills and use them, and I think that is very appropriate. The government feels that the clause should stay as it is. We would oppose Mr Stanhope's amendment No 5. We feel that this amendment would water down the powers of officers to remove from the court people who are behaving unlawfully or disruptively.

Indeed, if you have a look at subclauses (2) and (3), you will see that if a person is behaving unlawfully or in a disorderly or menacingly way and that person tells a security officer that they are required to attend court, certain other things have to flow from that. The officer may then only make the requirement with the court's leave. The officer has to be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the person is not required to attend the court.

The clause defines a person who has to attend the court. I think Ms Tucker is right in saying that that is a very sensible provision to have. That basically means that if the person who is to appear before the court is a lawyer, that is too bad for the security officer because the lawyer is a person who is required to attend court. In that instance, the only person who can tell them to leave is the court. Subclause (2) contains all the protections that are needed. Also, subclause (3) has the added benefit of defining who is a person required to attend court. So, if anything, I think there are probably more safeguards.

The clause, as drafted, is certainly clearer than it would be if it were amended by Mr Stanhope's amendment. In fact, I think the clause, as amended by Mr Stanhope, might even be subject to more abuse. In one way the amendment waters down this provision but in another way it is not as clear. Quite clearly, the clause enables

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