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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3177 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

In the landmark decision in 1996 of re Robb and Rees, 134 FLR-I think this goes to the point that Mr Humphries was making-the Full Court of the ACT Supreme Court set out new rules of conduct in speculative actions on the basis that maintenance and champerty had ceased to have relevance in the ACT, as either a criminal offence or a tort, without prejudice to questions of public policy. In their place, the court set out comprehensive rules governing the conduct of solicitors undertaking speculative actions in the area of personal injury litigation. This bill today completes the process of abolishing these old documents.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Prostitution Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 29 August 2002, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (3.49): Mr Speaker, this bill, which the opposition will also be agreeing to, implements the recommendations of a review undertaken by the department into the Prostitution Act 1992. The review, which followed a request made, I think, back in 1999, specifically looks at the public health and regulatory aspects of the act. It was considered that such a review was timely because the act had been operating for a number of years.

As was indicated by the Chief Minister in his introductory speech, there has been a lot of consultation. The main concern that arose about the existing legislation was the lack of any power to exclude unsuitable people from the industry. There is nothing in the act to prevent a person who had been convicted of, for example, a serious offence like child prostitution, from continuing to operate a brothel. The significant changes in the bill before us address that concern.

New offences have been included in the bill. A proposed definition of what is called a disqualifying offence will cover very serious criminal offences, especially crimes against a person-crimes in relation to children and offences dealing with things like drug trafficking and money laundering. These are particularly relevant offences. I think this a most important addition to the legislation.

When I left the Assembly at the end of the first Assembly and went into private practice with my old mate Bernard, one of my first cases was to draft an agreement for a brothel owner, brothels having then been recently legalised. We had a bit of trouble getting the fees out of him and I recall having to take him to court. I wasn't surprised to see that ex-client of mine, who was actually a fairly well-known felon, on television. I wonder whether he would have been able to operate had this particular bill been law at that time.

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