Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2665 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
it in there. Accordingly, we are prepared to accept that. I do not know if it is really necessary, but I do not think it does any harm to codify it.
There are some sensible amendments there too, to ensure that, if a matter is part heard, the magistrate hearing it, who might cease to be the Children's Court Magistrate, can continue to hear the part-heard matter. It is highly desirable-indeed this should always occur if possible-that a magistrate who has part heard a matter sees that matter through to finality.
I am aware of people coming back after retiring and becoming special magistrates to complete important part-heard matters. Unless the matter is trivial and someone else could pick it up, it is important for that to occur. That is obviously something the magistrates are very keen to see. It is very important in the Children's Court context, because the Children's Court Magistrate is appointed for a set period of time.
Mr Madden, who was previously the Children's Court Magistrate, has moved on to bigger and better things-or is back on the bench. He might not think they are bigger and better things, but he has moved on to other duties as a general magistrate. We have a new Children's Court Magistrate but, obviously, it is quite appropriate for Magistrate Madden to continue to hear any of his part-heard matters. In the same way, it would be appropriate for Magistrate Burns to do so when he moves back to other duties on the bench.
Indeed, the provisions which enable another magistrate to do Children's Court work if the Children's Court Magistrate is very busy, as is often the case, are sensible. I think that is a good provision. Again, if that magistrate ends up with a part-heard matter, he or she can continue to hear it, even if it is a Children's Court matter. Sensible provisions have been put in place there, as a result of discussions with the courts.
I am glad to get the explanatory memorandum, as a result of the points raised by the scrutiny committee. I would impress upon the government, though, that it is far better, and tidier, if you can possibly ensure that all those details are in the original explanatory memorandum. That was something that should have been included in the original EM and was not. I make that point, which is the point of the scrutiny committee.
The opposition will also be supporting amendments 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the amendment sheet. We do have problems with the Periodic Detention Act and the Remand Centres Act. I will deal with those when we get to the detail stage.
MS DUNDAS (12.16): The Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill affects a number of acts, and there are clauses that could have been better. However, I am not so concerned about these matters as to be convinced that I should oppose the bill.
I thank the Attorney-General for the amendments he has circulated today. They seem to go part of the way to addressing some of my concerns. I will detail the other concerns I have.