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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3104 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

There is a feeling out there that sometimes decisions made in the tribunal are against the interests of carers, for example-family members and others-who have been taking a line different to the one that the tribunal ultimately settles on.

I will support Ms Tucker's proposal to adjourn the debate. I certainly had a position to put to the Assembly tonight if we had voted on this earlier. I knew which way we would go, but I am happy for a little bit longer to think about this issue.

MS TUCKER (8.33): I have listened with interest to Mr Wood-

Mr Wood: You cannot adjourn it and speak.

MS TUCKER: We are going to the end of the in-principle stage.

MR SPEAKER: Order! I understand that we will complete the in-principle stage and then the debate will be adjourned. Is that right, Ms Tucker?

MS TUCKER: That is right. I was going to adjourn it at clause 1 of the detail stage.

Mr Wood: I do not want to go past the in-principle stage.

MS TUCKER: So you do not want to do it now at all?

Mr Wood: Go on.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed, Ms Tucker.

MS TUCKER: I am interested in what Mr Wood said. The reason I want to adjourn this debate in the detail stage is that I have some amendments which I want people to have time to look at. I also want to talk to a few more groups about some of the wording and let other members have that opportunity. Mr Wood has raised some further issues which we have also looked at, although we have come to the conclusion that we are reasonably comfortable with what is in this legislation, apart from those parts we will be amending.

I acknowledge that there is a danger that we may end up with a more paternalistic approach. However, I understand that this change is based on a discussion paper which was circulated to a number of groups, so I am hoping that it is reasonable. We can always re-evaluate the position if this Assembly hears of concerns.

The main change introduced by the bill, as we understand it, is in the concept of a person's interests as distinct from their wishes. The distinction is based largely on a recent Supreme Court case, as Mr Wood said, in which a person with a disability caused in an accident wished to spend his compensation payout. The tribunal supported the decision not to allow access, but this was overturned on the basis that the law discussed a person's wishes.

The bill therefore introduces a definition of "interests" that includes protection from physical or mental harm, prevention of a physical or mental deterioration of the person, and the ability of the person to look after himself or herself, live in the general community, and maintain their preferred lifestyle except where it is harmful to

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