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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3385 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Viewed this way, "impairment"seems the more appropriate word to be using in defining discrimination, since it is the term referring to the physical condition itself. The danger is that, in terms of practical effect, disability may be a more narrowly understood term than impairment, but I am assured that this will not be the case.

Fundamentally, the motivation for this change is to improve general understanding of the law. The question we are faced with here is: is it more important for the laws to be easily understandable or to assist us and the community to develop our understanding. The best answer is that it is both. On balance, I am not going to oppose this change, but I did want to note that in the discussion today.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (4.05), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank members for their contribution. I thank Ms Tucker for her very thoughtful contribution in relation to the importance of terminology and the need for us to think seriously about changes in words and the implications and impact of what appears to be a simple and desirable change.

Mr Speaker, the bill continues the technical amendments program which is designed to develop a simpler, more coherent and accessible statute book for the territory by means of minor legislation changes. For example, the bill continues the strategy of removing deadwood from the statute book by repealing the redundant Companies (Commonwealth Brickworks (Canberra) Limited) Act of 1979. The resolution authorised by the act was passed and registered in 1979. Removing unnecessary clutter from the statute book improves access to the territory's legislation, because the laws that remain in force are, obviously, given much greater prominence, but it is always sad to see some of these old laws disappear.

Mr Speaker, an important feature of the bill is the amendments to the Legislation Act 2001, on which Mr Smyth did offer some comment, to extend the scope of chapter 3, which deals with authorised versions of legislation and evidence of acts and statutory instruments in several important ways. In particular, the chapter will apply to legislative material such as explanatory statements for bills to facilitate their use and proof and people will be able to access authorised printed ACT legislation and legislative material by downloading authorised files from the internet and printing them on personal printers.

Until now, ACT legislation has been authorised only when it is viewed on the ACT legislation register website or when the copy has been printed by the government printer. In support of these legislative changes, the ACT is the first jurisdiction in Australia to make use of digital encryption technology to allow the public to download and print authorised legislation for free. Mr Speaker, free, authorised, online legislation is a very important step towards making our laws more accessible to people of the ACT. I would like to place on the record my thanks to Mr John Leahy and the Parliamentary Counsel's Office for their dedication to providing the people of the ACT with the most accessible legislation in Australia. The Parliamentary Counsel's Office is engaged in a wonderful process of reform and change.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation for members' continuing support for the technical amendments program.

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