Page 4653 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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a matter like this. It is ridiculous. It demeans the MPI that Ms Porter has correctly written out: the important contribution of volunteers to the Canberra community. It is something none of us can quibble with—it is a good MPI, and I do not think it needs to be tarnished with extraneous nonsense in terms on what the federal government is or is not doing.

Volunteers have been an integral part of the Canberra community, probably more so than any other community in Australia, since I can remember. And I was born here. Our volunteers probably put in more per person than do volunteers throughout the rest of Australia. There is an excellent history in Canberra of volunteerism, and it needs to be nurtured, it needs to be encouraged, and governments need to ensure that unnecessary obstacles are not placed in the path of these wonderful people who do so much to help their fellow citizens in our community.

MR SPEAKER: The discussion is concluded.

Executive business—postponement

Ordered that order of the day No 1, executive business, be postponed until a later hour.

Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2005 (No 3)

Debate resumed from 20 October 2005, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.35): The Attorney-General, in his introductory speech, said this is the 14th bill in a series of bills dealing with legislation within the JACS portfolio. It makes a number of minor and technical amendments to portfolio legislation. It makes a number of quite good amendments, I must say, although there is one area where I wonder why it could not have been done when the substantive bill was brought before this house not that long ago. I will come to that later.

This bill seeks to make minor amendments to a wide range of acts but some of those amendments, whilst minor, are in fact fairly important. The amendment to the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act takes account of anomalies such as the number of Assembly sitting days, as the act requires annual returns from insurers to be received before 31 October and tabled in the Assembly. To ensure that that occurs this bill makes five sitting days from 1 October apply, and that certainly ensures that that can be complied with. That act is also to be amended to prevent the duplication of costly procedures.

Also in relation to this act, it is important and worthy of note that, where a matter is subject to a particular pre-trial process, it should not be caught up with another pre-trial requirement through another scheme. A lot of our common law claims derive from workers compensation claims that have already been through their own pre-trial process. This is a sensible amendment that obviates the need for a second pre-trial requirement when those civil claims are being dealt with under the civil law. The pre-trial requirement is effectively the same, so it is a classic case of duplication.

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