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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1914 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

The Chief Minister states that the bill is unnecessary, and he states that there could be misconceptions. Certainly, in the act it is unclear whether there could be misconceptions, so he contradicts himself.

Contrary to what the Chief Minister said this morning, Rosemary Follett, the Discrimination Commissioner, has assured me that this bill is needed. As a matter of fact, she welcomed it. I have this in writing and would be happy to table her letter to the Assembly confirming this.

Once again, I thank the members in this chamber for their support, and I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

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

Clause 4.

MRS CROSS (11.31): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 1983].

Mr Speaker, this amendment is the result of the good working relationship that was enjoyed by members and their staff who worked on this bill. I would like once again to pay tribute to my adviser, David Moore, and thank the office of Kerrie Tucker and the office of Roslyn Dundas for their support. As Mrs Tucker said earlier, it was a very good example of cooperation between offices and I would like to see more of it. Thank you, Mrs Tucker, for your help as well.

The amendment changes the structure of the bill by taking the definition of potential pregnancy out of the list of attributes in section 7 of the act and establishes it as a stand-alone definition. I understand that the Discrimination Commissioner and departmental officials prefer this approach, as it would make the final result more workable. This is a sensible change and I thank members for their patience and cooperation.

I might mention at this point that, after discussion with members and officials, I will be voting for the withdrawal of clauses 6 to 9 of the bill. It has turned out that they are not necessary to achieve the intended result and for having a discrimination provision that is the most user-friendly for the commissioner. The principle for providing any required exemption, such as on the ground of occupational health and safety, is already broadly contained in section 8 of the act and a further specific definition is not required. Once again, I thank members for their patience and support.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

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