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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3830 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

I have, however, taken note of the concerns expressed about there being an appropriate emphasis on domestic violence.

Government Amendment 1 puts the domestic violence object of the Act first in the Objects clause.

Government Amendment 8 amends the long title of the Bill to include specific reference to domestic violence and personal violence.

Extensions to final orders-Government Amendment 3

The provisions relating to the extension of final orders in clause 37 of the Bill have been drafted consistently with the general scheme of the legislation.

The provision provides that the Magistrates Court may only extend an order if satisfied that the order is still necessary.

The current provision in the Domestic Violence Act places the onus on the respondent to establish that an order should not be extended.

The current provision is inconsistent with the general scheme of the legislation, where the Magistrates Court is required to consider whether there is a basis for the order.

Under the current provision, the absence of the respondent will result in the automatic extension of an order without any Court consideration of the substantive issue.

In all other orders, the Court is required to turn its mind to the question of whether there is actually a basis for the order.

There has been some concern expressed with this provision and the fact that it is a change from the current domestic violence legislation.

I have taken these concerns on board.

Government Amendment 3 amends clause 37 to provide that the Magistrates Court, in considering an application to extend a domestic violence order, must extend the order unless satisfied that the order is no longer necessary to protect the aggrieved person from domestic violence by the respondent.

In consideration of issues of balancing rights, such an extension is limited in length to one year.

There are currently no provisions for extension to restraining orders under the Magistrates Court Act. For this reason, clause 37 remains unchanged in respect of personal protection orders. That is, the Magistrates Court must be satisfied the order is still necessary.

Length of interim orders-Government Amendment 6

Putting an explicit constraint on the length of interim protection orders was something which the Government has considered carefully.

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