Page 896 - Week 04 - Thursday, 3 May 2007

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Dr Foskey: Probably Mr Mulcahy refrained from standing.

Mr Mulcahy: You jumped up ahead of me.

MR SPEAKER: Possibly. I do not know; I do not remember it. In any event, it is my intention to try and be fair but to also acknowledge that the opposition has a long-recognised place in—

Dr Foskey: And so, indeed, has the cross bench.

MR SPEAKER: Let me finish, please. The opposition has a long-recognised place in legislatures around the Westminster system. So, too, have opposition crossbench members and independents in this place. I will do my best to be fair in giving the call but I ask members to acknowledge that there are some longstanding practices about these matters which exist in these places and which are also routinely recognised by bodies like the Remuneration Tribunal in the allocation of responsibilities.

Statute Law Amendment Bill 2007

Mr Stanhope, on behalf of Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (10.50): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill makes statute law revision amendments to ACT legislation under guidelines for the technical amendments program approved by the government. The bill makes amendments that are minor or technical, and non-controversial. They are generally insufficiently important to justify the presentation of separate legislation in each case and may be inappropriate to make as editorial amendments in the process of republishing legislation under the Legislation Act 2001.

However, the bill serves the important purpose of improving the overall quality of the ACT statute book so that our laws are kept up to date and are easier to find, read and understand. A well maintained statute book significantly enhances access to ACT legislation and it is a very practical measure to give effect to the principle that members of the community have a right to know the laws that affect them.

The enhancement of the ACT statute book through the technical amendments program is also a process of modernisation. For example, laws need to be kept up to date to reflect ongoing technological and societal change. Also, as the ACT statute book has been created from various jurisdictional sources over a long period, it reflects the various drafting practices, language usage, printing formats and styles throughout the years. It is important to maintain a minimum level of consistency in presentation and cohesion between legislation coming from different sources at different times so that better access to, and understanding of, the law is achieved.

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