Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 15 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 December 2005) . . Page.. 4798 ..
catalyst for this. I note with interest what Dr Foskey said: why not have some sort of bill which could take into account the fact that we might have some long-running coronials? Hopefully, we will have very few long-running coronials, but there have been some in the past and she raises a valid point there, which in discussions I had with her office I encouraged her to perhaps look at further. Thankfully, they are very few, but that is, too, probably a reasonable point if we are going to get into situations where coronials go for a long time. I can think of a couple within the last 10 years where that would apply.
Whilst it is a simple amendment—being a lawyer, it does not cause me any great concern and it looks fine by me—I take Dr Foskey’s point, too, and I would encourage the government, especially when they have got due warning of what is occurring, to get amendments to people in good time. To have got an amendment like this even 24 hours beforehand would have been obviously very helpful, especially to Dr Foskey, and even perhaps to me, because when I got it I had a quick look and I note that the Limitation Act in the red folders there is actually updated up to 1999. Someone might like to attend to that, because part of the amendment actually seeks to omit subsections 16B (3) to 16B (6) to make the system actually work. Unfortunately, those sections are not in the act there, so I just make that point so that that could be updated as well.
Dr Foskey said she would like to see us and the government more regularly do things like this, and I think it is great when we all can work together here. Unfortunately, I suppose, normally this place is a fairly adversarial place, and obviously that is going to continue. But I do think it is good and I am very happy with the way everyone in this Assembly—the government, the Greens and us—have worked together on this issue. There have been a couple of false starts, but this bill will now become law. It will enable fairness to apply, not only to bushfire victims but to anyone who before September 2003 might have a cause of action. That is a very good result, it is a fair result, it is a good result in terms of good legal process and I think it is something that will be welcomed generally by everyone affected in the territory, as, indeed, I think it has been welcomed by everyone here in this house. I thank members for their constructive approach to this issue. A number of people will benefit as a result, not necessarily by taking action before the court but by at least having that option, which I think is right and proper.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Clauses 1 to 3, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
Proposed new clause 3A.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (11.26): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name, which seeks to insert a new clause 3A [see schedule 1 at page 4882].
I also table a supplementary explanatory statement to the amendment. As has been indicated, section 16B of the Limitation Act establishes the limitations period, the period