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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 840 ..

whether the rights of indigenous people should be specifically included;

There is a debate we need to have. That is a constructive, important and overdue debate which we as a community should engage in. And-this is something I am sure is dear to the heart of the Liberals:

b) whether the catalogue of rights should be accompanied by a parallel statement of responsibilities.

I refer to the terms of reference just to give some perspective to the comments which members of the Liberal Party have made in this debate. This will be an inclusive, consultative process engaged in by three incredibly eminent members of this community. Professor Hilary Charlesworth, the chair, is undoubtedly Australia's leading academic human rights lawyer. Her credentials are second to none on the issues of rights, rights law, human rights law, public law and international law. She heads up the ANU law faculty's Centre for International and Public Law.

Professor Larissa Behrendt, an indigenous person, is professor of law and indigenous studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, and a visiting fellow at the Australian National University. The third committee member is Penelope Layland, an immediate past associate editor of the Canberra Times, is a gifted communicator and somebody who will be incredibly able in the detailed communication and consultation that are part and parcel of this inquiry.

I am pleased that members are engaging in the discussion and debate. I look forward to the inquiry; I think it will be quite fascinating and very useful. The debate we will have on this issue will in itself serve an incredibly useful and valuable purpose in engaging the community in a discussion about rights.

I do not think any of us would deny, in the context of some of the issues that are affecting us around the nation-the rights of refugees, mandatory sentencing, the rights of indigenous people and issues that arise constantly in relation to criminal law and the changes we make to criminal law-that there are a raft of contemporary issues around rights that we constantly jostle with and are challenged by and that this will be a very useful inquiry and consultative process.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Mr Stanhope presented the following papers:

Hepatitis C-Lookback program and financial assistance scheme reports for the quarters ending 30 September 2001 and 31 December 2001, dated April 2002.

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