Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1404 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

Members of this Assembly will recall that I was the lone voice of dissent against the recent Crimes Amendment Bill, commonly known as the anti-hoax bill. The concern I raised at the time was that the definition of offences was very broad, even though members of this Assembly may have known what that definition was meant to be. My fear was, and is, that the offences could be misused by future Attorneys, DPPs or indeed judges. This concern is reflected in my concerns about the current anti-terrorism laws being scrutinised at a federal level.

We must be careful as law makers. We must be sure that laws are easy to read, that they are easy to access and that they are what the Assembly wishes to prescribe.

The use of extrinsic material is commonplace in the Australian legal system where ambiguities arise. We must work to reduce these ambiguities, and when they arise within the legal system the Assembly must be quick to react, revisit the policy issues involved and perhaps even revisit the legislation itself.

I will support an adjournment of the debate on this bill to allow a few days of further consultation with the legal fraternity. I would prefer this to further examination by the same committee that has already examined this piece of legislation twice.

I have circulated to members two minor amendments that I will speak to during the detail stage. Maybe the concerns expressed by other members can also be addressed by minor amendments. I would be happy to consider them if they are circulated.

In conclusion, I strongly support the public access to legislation project. I am happy to add my support to this project

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (11.39), in reply: Mr Speaker, the first objective of the bill is to complete the establishment of the legislative framework for the public access to legislation project. ACT legislation and related notifications, instruments and information are now available on an approved Internet website. All provisions dealing with the life cycle of ACT legislation are now found in a single act, the Legislation Act, rather than being scattered across various acts and therefore not easy to find or use. As a part of this process of consolidation, the Legislation Act will incorporate the provisions of the Administration Act and the Statutory Appointments Act, which will then be repealed.

Second, the bill deals more fully with the status of Legislation Act provisions and clarifies the basis of their application and displacement. The bill makes it clear that the Legislation Act applies to all legislation, including its own provision. The notion of displacement refers to the fact that the act lays down a number of default rules-that is, provisions that will apply to all other acts and statutory instruments unless the other act or instrument indicates that the Legislation Act provision is not to apply in a particular case.

The bill divides all the provisions of the Legislation Act into determinative and non-determinative provisions. Determinative provisions are specifically tagged as such, and all other provisions will be non-determinative provisions. A determinative provision will apply unless another act or statutory instrument indicates very clearly that it is not to

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .