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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 2501 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The Labor Party has looked at this particular bill. Statue law bills are, by their very nature, often incredibly detailed and complex. To some extent, oppositions in all places, in their consideration of statute law bills, take governments on faith in relation to that understanding that only minor non-controversial and non-policy matters will be included within such legislation. I am happy to accept the Attorney's assurance that this particular legislation does contain only minor non-controversial and non-policy matters.

I note that the Attorney, in his presentation speech, drew on a couple of interesting examples-one in relation to amendments to the Radiation Act and one in relation to amendments to the Transplantation and Anatomy Act. Both of those acts are changed to take account of significant changes in the technology that applies to ionising radiation and the determination of death.

There may be some discussion about whether a new definition or a new methodology for determining whether or not life has ceased and the criteria that a doctor who is certifying death needs to take are more than minor or are not related to matters of policy. But, to be fair, the interesting example the Attorney gave in relation to the Transplantation and Anatomy Act illustrates the importance of the work that goes into statute law amendment bills. It is quite intriguing. It highlights the enormous skill and professionalism of the drafting office that they are able to take account of how technological changes impact on a range of statutes.

I commend the drafting officers who were responsible for this piece of legislation. I have always been mightily impressed by the work that parliamentary counsel and drafting officers put into these significant and very important pieces of legislation that perhaps do not attract the attention and the applause they often deserve. I think they are amongst the most significant and important pieces of legislation that come before the place, yet we tend to flick them through without much comment and without acknowledging the enormous work that goes into their preparation and the enormous skill that is required.

I understand there are to be some amendments. I have received an assurance that, as with the changes in the bill, the amendments relate to minor non-controversial, non-policy matters. On that basis, the Labor Party is prepared to accept the amendments as well.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (4.54), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Stanhope for his comments. There are some government amendments which I am assured are all technical in nature. I will say a bit more about them later.

I would agree with Mr Stanhope's compliments about drafting officers. Drafting is a difficult job. It is not easy, as both Mr Stanhope and I know. We have had a bit of a go at it ourselves, but never with anything like the great skill shown by parliamentary counsel. I would join Mr Stanhope in complimenting the officers who drafted this bill. It was certainly a very difficult piece of work, and their skill is to be commended. Might I thank Mr Stanhope for his compliments to those officers. His remarks will be recorded in Hansard, and I will make sure they are passed on to those concerned in case they do not read Hansard, although I am sure they do.

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