Page 205 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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I thank members of the Assembly for supporting this arrangement.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Woolworths, Mawson

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.34): I seek leave to move a motion, Mr Speaker.

Leave granted.

DR FOSKEY: I move:

That the petition presented this day concerning a direct land grant to Woolworths, Mawson be referred to the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (11.35): As chair of the planning and environment committee, I am happy to take that on board.

Motion agreed to.

Human Rights Commission Legislation Amendment Bill 2006

Debate resumed from 14 February 2005, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (11.35): This bill certainly appears to do what the government intends it to do, and I will deal with that first because it is obviously going to pass. But I indicate that, as we opposed the setting up of the Human Rights Commission back on, I think, 23 August last year and the opposition have not seen the necessity for a Human Rights Act in the ACT, we will oppose this bill as well.

In terms of the mechanics of the bill, it does do what it is meant to do. It amends the Human Rights Commission Act to delay its commencement from March to a date to be fixed by the minister. The background for putting back the date for the commencement of the Human Rights Commission is that the positions of president and three of the commissioners—Health Services Commissioner, Disability and Community Services Commissioner and Children and Young People Commissioner—were advertised in November, applications have been received and no decisions on candidates have been made yet. It is expected, I understand, that the Human Rights Commission will become operational in August or September of this year.

The key feature of this bill is the new commencement date, a date to be fixed by the minister. Under the existing commencement provisions of the act, the Human Rights Commission Act would start automatically on 1 March 2006. The new commencement date also applies to provisions in section 79 of the Legislation Act 2001 that provides for automatic commencement after six months. Amendment 1.8 amends the commencement provision in the Public Advocate Act 2005 so that the majority of the act will commence on 1 March 2006, and the commencement of that act is presently tied to the

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