Page 991 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 15 March 2005

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Service in relation to the operation of the proposed legislation as it affects issues in relation to domestic violence within rented accommodation. That is the issue that is at the heart of the amendment that Dr Foskey has foreshadowed that she proposes to move.

The government and I have an early view about whether or not it is appropriate for the Residential Tenancies Tribunal to have any responsibility for inquiring into whether domestic violence has occurred. I think there is a significant issue there for us to give some consideration to. We are more than happy to participate in a debate around whether or not the arrangements that are currently provided in the legislation are appropriate or whether or not the suggestion of the Welfare Rights and Legal Service—at, I must say, the 12th hour—that there is an issue here is correct, despite the fact that the position is included within the legislation; that there is as a very specific finding from the review and the recommendations from tenant groups that it was an appropriate amendment for us to proceed with. We have taken advice of tenants and have responded to the review of the act, which was quite extensive and took us almost two years to complete.

But there is, on the day that we are debating very much-consulted legislation, a proposal that we look at this particular issue. I am more than happy to do that. Dr Foskey did propose, as I understand, that we adjourn to a later hour this day. Mrs Burke, on behalf of the Liberal Party, has indicated that she would appreciate some additional time. The government will give consideration to the points that have been put to us, too. It is a very difficult and fraught area or issue, as all issues in relation to domestic violence are, and the government is happy to support the adjournment of the bill to our next sitting week. If that is the motion that Dr Foskey would now propose to move, the government will support it.

I thank members for their in principle support. It is important legislation. As I say, it is the culmination of a significant period of review and consultation, a review process that continued over a very lengthy period of time. The government’s position in relation to that is that the bill very much reflects the advice we received from tenant groups and owners. I believe it is good legislation. It does respond to those points. It is a very important issue that Dr Foskey has raised today in her foreshadowed amendments, an issue that does require, I think, some detailed additional thought. We are very happy to be part of that. Again, Mr Speaker, I thank all members for their support in principle of the legislation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clause 1.

Debate (on motion by Dr Foskey) adjourned to the next sitting.

Standing orders—suspension

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.31): Mr Speaker, I move:

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