Page 544 - Week 02 - Thursday, 17 February 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

The bill also expands the definition of “relative” to take into account the kinship and cultural ties of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, members of communities with non-English speaking backgrounds and people with particular religious beliefs. The definition is consistent with the importance given to the protection of the family under section 11 of the territory’s Human Rights Act 2004 and the broad meaning given to “family” under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The bill expands the definition of “relevant person” to include relationships with similar dynamics to domestic relationships. The definition of “relevant person” is central to the definition of domestic violence. This new definition will provide greater scope for the application of the domestic violence provisions in the act.

The bill includes a clear statement of objects and principles. While the general object of the legislation is to facilitate the safety and protection of all people who experience interpersonal violence, it particularly recognises that domestic violence is a form of interpersonal violence that needs a greater level of protective response. The bill also recognises that a person’s behaviour will be domestic violence if it causes personal injury and not just physical injury to someone. This is an important amendment as it means that the court can now make a domestic violence order where a person has not suffered physical violence but mental distress.

Another provision of the bill that I would specifically draw to the attention of members is the provision relating to personal protection orders in respect of the workplace. Employers and employees of kindergartens, childcare centres, schools and other similar organisations will now be able to take out a workplace order against people that they believe pose a risk to the children in their care. Similarly, employers and employees of paediatric wards, child protection offices and other similar facilities will also be able to access these orders. This amendment provides children with greater protection from people who may pose a risk to them. Violence, harassment and intimidation are not acceptable in our community, and this bill is another step towards addressing this sort of behaviour. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned to the next sitting.

Legal Aid Amendment Bill 2005

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (10.37): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Legal Aid Amendment Bill 2005 contains a number of amendments that will assist the Legal Aid Commission to maintain better control over its liabilities and to provide a greater range of services to its clients. The Legal Aid Commission provides a high-quality service to the people of the ACT and these amendments will assist the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .