Page 4654 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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I understand the only time this does not apply is when it relates to motor vehicle accidents occurring at work; that is a different insurer class. But that is not a particularly heavy type of claim in the jurisdiction. Most of the claims are other claims, which means there would be this duplication were this amendment not to go through.

Whilst the objective is a noble one, pre-trial conferences and requirements have become quite complex, quite difficult and quite costly. They are a bit of a bane to many people in the profession. I regularly get lawyers coming to me and complaining about the pre-trial processes, saying it would be better if we even went back to the days when we did not have them and solicitors and the parties could sort it out themselves. I can see the sense in having them, but by the same token there are a number of problems with the pre-trial conferences and processes.

The whole area probably does need to be looked at to make sure it is more efficient. I understand the Supreme Court, in its new rules, will be looking at that and certainly the Supreme Court, the Magistrates Court, the Law Society and the profession generally are engaged in activities at present to streamline that process. This ensures that you cannot have, effectively, the same pre-trial requirement twice. That clearly is just a nonsense, an absolute waste of time and, accordingly, that is a very sensible amendment.

There are a number of other basic amendments here which, whilst minor, are important. For example, the federal parliament has now passed some legislation in terms of new federal child pornography offences in the current list of class 2 offences. They deal with commonwealth crimes of trafficking in children, using, possession and producing child pornography through downloading from the internet and using the internet to procure or groom children under 16.

As a result of this amendment to this bill, which is a minor one but nevertheless important, a sex offender will now be required to be registered on the ACT child sex offenders register. Previously, because this commonwealth bill had not been passed, those crimes of trafficking, using, possession and producing child pornography through the internet were not there on the ACT child sex offenders register, which is an important register, as we know because we did that piece of legislation from an ACT point of view only several months ago.

Similarly with restorative justice, which is a recent act, I accept that when the commonwealth introduces some legislation that is relevant to us it is sensible to put those category offences on a register by a simple amendment like this. I do wonder in relation to the Crimes (Restorative Justice) Act, though, whether what happened in this particular instance could not have been done when the act came in. I would be interested to see why that did not occur, because it is an important part of restorative justice, and a sensible one too.

The act provides for the restorative justice unit, and the bill amends section 22 of the act, dealing with which agencies can refer matters to the restorative justice unit. The table in section 22 sets out when an offence can be referred to restorative justice. This particular amendment in this bill makes clear that there is occasion for the chief executive under the Children and Young People Act 1999 to refer matters to restorative justice after a sentence is imposed. That is important because one of the aims of the bill—and this

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