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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3246 ..

The Greens have a real commitment to free speech and public information, and remain committed to reforming the defamation law in the ACT in order to limit the capacity of powerful institutions and individuals in our society to manipulate the law in their own defence.

Debate (on motion by Mr Osborne ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Guardianship and Management of Property Amendment Bill 2001

Detail Stage

Clause 1.

Debate resumed from 21 August 2001.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Remainder of bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MS TUCKER (11.35): I seek leave to move the amendments circulated in my name together.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: I move the amendments circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3305].

This bill, as we have said already, is mostly about weighing up the dignity of risk against the duty of care towards people whose capacity to make judgments is impaired in some way. I did not receive negative feedback on this bill's intent. ACTCOSS, ADICAS and the Carers Association have looked at the bill for me. I understand that the government made the changes through a process of circulating a discussion paper and then the bill, and I am very pleased that the people involved have followed this process.

There have been some concerns expressed that in making this change the bill might move the legal situation back towards older paradigms of protection and away from the rights of people with a disability. The bill seems to have achieved this balance, but future legislators should continue to be vigilant as to the effect.

The Carers Association was keen to see some recognition of the role of carers in the decision-making process in cases in which carers were not the appointed guardian or manager. According to the carers, in current practice, for various reasons, the person appointed to be guardian or manager is not always the carer-that is, the family member or friend who cares for the person. Other people involved in the process agree that although there are so-called carers who abuse their position, there are also many carers who simply cannot take on the extra responsibility of financial decision-making or other life decisions. Others see the public officers as the decision-makers of last resort-that is, that there must be a good reason if the carer is not appointed to this role.

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