Page 1154 - Week 04 - Thursday, 17 March 2005

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

wider range of harm, including psychological violence, identifies that mental abuse is just as unacceptable in our community as physical violence.

Another important definitional change is the expansion of “relative” to include anyone else who could reasonably be considered to be a relative of the original person. This expansion reflects that for some members of the community the concept of relative is wider than ordinarily understood. This takes 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. Canberra has a diverse community and this definition goes towards ensuring that all members of the community are protected. The expansion of the definition of “relevant person” also provides greater scope for the application of the domestic violence provisions of the act.

Mr Speaker, I would like briefly to highlight the importance of the provision in the bill relating to personal protection orders in respect of a workplace. As Mr Stanhope explained in his tabling statement in February, 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. Employers and employees of paediatric wards, child protection offices and other similar facilities will be able to access these orders.

It is a sad fact that some people in our community do wish to cause harm to children. If these people do pose a risk in some way to the children in care, protection can be afforded to those children. This amendment also offers greater protection to the staff of these centres and organisations who sometimes have anger or frustration directed personally at them while they are just doing their job.

To reiterate, Mr Speaker, this is an important piece of legislation. Violence in any form is not acceptable and all members of the community need to work together to put an end to abuse and intimidation. This bill is another step in addressing violence and providing protection to vulnerable members of the community.

I note Mr Stefaniak’s comments in regard to the concept of personal injury. I do not think he has formally moved his amendments yet; he will probably do so in the detail stage. I do not want to anticipate debate, but I believe that the Attorney-General will be addressing the issues raised by Mr Stefaniak. Nervous shock was raised by the scrutiny of bills committee as an issue, but Mr Stanhope has stated in his reply to the committee that he does not believe that there is any issue with the concept of personal shock and the definition of personal injury in the bill. I will allow Mr Stanhope, as Attorney-General, to address those issues more fully. Mr Speaker, I commend the bill.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.57): Mr Speaker, as Mr Stefaniak has said, the opposition will be supporting this bill. Many of the innovations in regard to domestic violence and protection orders were instituted by the previous government and these amendments bring up to date in some sense the legislation instituted by the previous government.

Mr Stefaniak has touched on some issues which are of concern to us. I think that after the operation of this act for three or four years, as has been the case, and of the previous Domestic Violence Act, which dates back to 1989, there is some scope for us to be a

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