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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3383 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

technology will complement measures that have already been implemented to make our electronic legislation secure and reliable.

An important measure is the one for the provision of a secure web site for the legislation register using a certification service that allows users to verify that the site is legitimate and to check whether an electronic file of legislation or legislative material that purports to be authorised is, in fact, authorised.

A user can verify the legitimacy of the website at which the file is accessed and use the file's digital signature to verify whether the file is the same as the authorised version that has been digitally signed by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The use of digital signatures will put us one step ahead of some other jurisdictions.

Another not insignificant amendment is the amendment in schedule 3 to the Bushfire Inquiry (Protection of Statements) Act 2003. This amendment removes any doubt about whether the defence provided by the act would still be available after the expiry of the act. That was certainly the intention of the opposition and, indeed, the Assembly when the bill was debated.

Mr Speaker, the opposition will be supporting this bill.

MS DUNDAS (3.59): Mr Speaker, in a democracy, everyone should feel ownership of the law that governs our relationships with each other. If that law is as simple, readable and accessible as possible, our democracy is made more effective.

I commend the work being done by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office to modernise and simplify our statute book by removing unnecessary words and minimising duplication. I also commend the work being done to make the statute book easier for the public to access through the internet and the efforts to ensure that the public can readily ascertain whether a copy of an ACT act is an authorised copy. This technical bill goes further towards making those things a reality and it is one that I am happy to support.

I would like briefly to remark upon the amendment to the Bushfire Inquiry (Protection of Statements) Act. There is an additional measure here to ensure that protection from defamation for witnesses to the McLeod inquiry will continue after the expiry of the Bushfire Inquiry (Protection of Statements) Act. It is unfortunate that the government has had difficulty in getting this piece of legislation right. It appears that that was simply because the government was unwilling to support a simple and effective proposal. I hope that, if similar situations arise in the future, the government will stay focused on the best interests of the community. That said, I am happy to support the Statute Law Amendment Bill today.

MS TUCKER (4.00): This bill is about updating language, reformatting the layout of laws and a number of other matters. The scrutiny of bills committee did not make any comments in terms of any breach of rights. I have a few comments to make on the change to the terminology of the Discrimination Act.

This change was recommended by the Discrimination Commissioner. The commissioner's reasons for recommending the change were principally that in conducting community education, which is an important part of the commission's work,

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