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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3253 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

(h) require the occupier, or a person on the premises, to give the investigator reasonable help to exercise a power under this division.

Accordingly, an investigator acting under paragraph 12 (1) (b) or (c) would be required to respect legal professional privilege, if claimed, and any claim of self-incrimination, which would not apply unless the information or the production of the document, or any other information or document or thing obtained as a direct or indirect consequence of providing the information or production of the document, were to be used against a person in a criminal proceeding.

I commend the bill to the Assembly. Mr Stanhope, hopefully, would have seen my response to the scrutiny of bills committee, which was dated 21 August.

Mr Stanhope: I don't think I have, Bill.

MR STEFANIAK: I think I have basically just stated it anyway, Jon, but I am happy to show you if you do not have it.

Mr Stanhope: I might have it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clauses 1 to 3, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clauses 4 and 5, by leave, taken together.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (11.59): Mr Speaker, the Labor Party will oppose clauses 4 and 5. Clause 4 is consequent to our support for the removal of clause 5. Clause 5 is the clause in the bill which effectively hands back power over the finance industry to the Commonwealth.

I dealt with this issue in the speech I made at the in-principle stage, Mr Speaker. I do not think there is any justification. The Attorney, it seems to me, has not justified at all why the ACT should hand back to the Commonwealth powers in relation to complaints in respect of the finance industry. The case simply has not been made.

I think this is a bad idea. I think it disempowers ACT residents quite seriously, potentially. The government is proposing that ACT residents who wish to complain about consumer matters relating to this particular very important industry no longer have access to the Fair Trading Office, but have instead access to the ACCC or the ASIC. We all know that those national organs, those national bodies, will not respond to an individual complaint in the way that the ACT Fair Trading Office will respond to that complaint. We all know in our hearts that it is simply not going to happen.

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