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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2834 ..

MS TUCKER: What did you say? I think Mr Moore might need to withdraw something, seriously withdraw something, if we are going to be proper in this place, which people wanted to be suddenly.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Can we get on with the debate.

MS TUCKER: Yes, I would like to. Mr Moore needs to drink more water and say less. The bill reorganises the law on all types of protection orders, seeking to make it more clearly understood. In doing so it takes the legislation covering domestic violence protection orders out of the Domestic Violence Act-that is an important point, members-and combines it with all other protection orders.

Despite the fact that the review and the bill involved rewriting the law of domestic violence protection orders, the comprehensive technical review behind the bill did not include consultation with domestic violence services or expertise. It has been done without consulting the Domestic Violence Prevention Council which, I remind members, is a statutory body established by this Assembly which has as one responsibility advising the minister on matters relating to domestic violence. It was not consulted. The council, by the way, does not seem to have been adequately resourced to fulfil such an important function, which is another matter of concern.

The reworking of the laws has apparently been carried out-this is another very important point; Mr Moore, you would be interested in this-without reference to the model domestic violence legislation. These model laws, released in April 1999, are intended to improve the consistency and quality of Australian jurisdiction's domestic violence protection laws. They were developed by a multi-jurisdiction working party and are based on broad consultation carried out, at least in part, with funding from the partnerships against domestic violence program. So the council that we set up, that this Assembly set up, at the moment is looking at how our local law fits with the model legislation. So it would certainly be valuable to have the council's comments on this latest legislation which this government has suddenly thrown up out of the blue. Maybe it would make more sense to draw from the model law. Let's find out before we vote on this.

In short, the government has not been careful enough to ensure it knows what it is doing to victims of domestic violence by changing these laws, and it is not good enough. That is why I am proposing stopping this debate until our consideration of this bill is informed on what it will mean and how it could do its work better for victims of domestic violence. In itself the lack of consultation is worrying. I think Mr Humphries would agree with me here at least. In his letter of 6 February 2001 regarding the government's review of the restraining orders legislation, which I presume was the review behind this bill, he said:

It is critical that we get the restraining orders process right. I am particularly concerned that the new legislation will not suffer from similar problems to those that exist within the current legislation. The legislation involves complex issues and stakeholders have shown an extremely high level of interest in it.

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