Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 April 2008) . . Page.. 790 ..
fact. In fact, because of the timeframe—and there was a time frame, I recall, in that case—I assisted the constituent in delivering to the AG’s office a letter with documents so that at least he was in the timeframe before his ability to get legal assistance was killed off by this bill actually becoming law.
But it is pleasing to see the government at least now recognises that; hence this particular amendment. I think it is crucially important, especially if we are talking human rights, that all people are equal, rather than some being more equal than others. It is very important, I think—maybe it does not come up much—for section 62 to be retained because quite clearly there are circumstances when people justifiably need that legal assistance. There is no way they can do it themselves. This case is a case in point, and it may well be something the attorney may want to raise, because he is probably aware of it by now.
The other amendment relates to the Juries Act. I will say a little bit more about that when we actually come to it. But, fundamentally, I refer members to scrutiny of bills report No 50 of 4 February 2008, especially pages 14 through to 16—and I do not propose reading out all of it—which effectively says that an amendment of this importance, and indeed complexity, is really deserving of its own bill. There are other issues in relation to rights which the scrutiny report refers to and various rights are referred to there.
But fundamentally, we have here an amendment which would really change the way juries would operate. There are a lot of ramifications to ensure that a person who would seek the opportunity to do jury service and who may be blind, deaf or dumb would need relevant assistance. The scrutiny report actually refers to—and I will perhaps do that in a bit more detail later—the types of assistance that have been necessary in other jurisdictions that have looked at it. The scrutiny report concludes by saying why is not this in a substantive bill.
The latest report was interesting. We do not say that. There was another piece of legislation where we thought maybe that should be a substantive bill, but it was only on one issue and there was not the same complexity. But in something like this, I would say that this is a pretty complex matter. You are changing decades of practice. There are some considerable things that would need to be done to ensure the case so that a person suffering those disabilities would be able to properly contribute as a juror and would need relevant assistance.
There are various ways of doing that. There are problems with the ways you might do some things, which is raised in the scrutiny report. Therefore I think it is important to put that to one side, delete it, and come back—and by all means come back fairly quickly if you need to—with a substantive bill that properly addresses all the issues there.
With those two provisos, which we will be moving to delete, I indicate the opposition will be supporting the bill.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.35): I will be supporting this bill. I recognise the need for these quite detailed omnibus pieces of legislation as tools to tidy up and