Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 479 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
repeatedly today, there is a lot of legal argument over this bill, but it is likely to pass today. We should continue to monitor the operation of this legislation. This amendment will bring it back to the attention of the Assembly as goods are sold, destroyed or modified. Hence I believe it is well worth our support.
The minister must present the notice to the Legislative Assembly within three sitting days, which usually would be a great deal of time for cases to progress. But the bill refers to the Public Trustee giving written notice to anyone else the Public Trustee believes may have an interest in the property. There is no guarantee that a person who has an interest in the property will keep that information secret. So I do not think adding the minister to the list of people who receive this information and then the Assembly three sitting days afterwards has associated with it the issues the minister raised, unless he believes that anyone else the Public Trustee believes may have an interest in the property is going to keep their mouth shut about the fact that the property is being destroyed or sold.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (4.28): I want to respond to that one point. The example I used was narcotics or drugs that have been seized. In that circumstance, nobody else is going to own up to an interest in a paddock of marijuana at the back of Calwell or some other narcotic. Yet this amendment would require that notice to be given to me for me to table it within three days. If it was given me today, I would have to table it next Tuesday. If it is tabled in this place, it will be public. It will go to the media.
There are circumstances in which the scenario you raise, Ms Dundas, does not apply. There are circumstances in which the notification to me is a public notification to the media. Any notification in this place is a public notification. There would be circumstances in which there was no other person the Public Trustee would notify.
I can only go on the advice that I am provided with by the Chief Police Officer of the ACT and the Director of Public Prosecutions of the ACT. They have looked at this provision specifically at my request, and they advised me directly, unambiguously, that the passage of this amendment would adversely affect certain investigations or certain prosecutions. That is the advice provided to me by the Chief Police Officer and the Director of Public Prosecutions. You can take it or leave it, but I am inclined to take it.
MS TUCKER (4.30): The amendment Mr Stanhope proposes to move is better than nothing, so I will support it.
Clause 102 agreed to.
MS TUCKER (4.31): I seek leave to move amendments 23 and 24 circulated in my name together.