Page 2489 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 1 July 2008

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Then, on the other hand, we see a shared consultation process with random roadside drug testing. If ever there was an issue where you do not need much consultation, this is it. Random roadside drug testing is a life and death matter. When you have got life and death matters you do not waste time with long, blown-out, convoluted, sham consultation processes. Why are they going through that now? It is because they want to delay the sensible decision that they know they should have to make. When you want to delay a decision you go through a so-called consultation process.

Here is a classic example of where there need not have been a significant consultation process at all. Instead, ministerial leadership should have been exercised. Again the hapless minister for municipal services—passion fingers—has his fingers all over this one. It is a sham consultation process because he cannot make the decision to provide safe roads for the majority of Canberrans. He is too tied up with the civil liberties to make a decision. He is all at sea. When we need consultation on environmental, social and community issues, we do not have it. When they need to make a fast decision on a life and death issue and they have got all the evidence available from a multitude of sources, they cannot make a decision and they go into a sham consultation process. (Time expired.)

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Order! The time for discussion of the matter of public importance has expired.

Children and Young People Bill 2008

[Cognate bill:
Children and Young People (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008]

Debate resumed.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.07): This is an important bill, of course, and one which has been brewing at least since the review of the Children and Young People Act in 2002. It is an important bill because it is the culmination of a long period of review and consideration and because it makes significant changes to the current provisions for the protection of children in the ACT. There are few more emotive subjects than the protection of children and there are few more important matters for consideration by this Assembly.

It is an unfortunate fact that some children in our society today are robbed of a chance to enjoy their childhood, and to grow into happy and secure adults, by negligence or abuse. It is certainly true that the primary responsibility for the nurture and rearing of children must always lie with families. However, the government must ensure that basic standards of law apply to ensure that serious negligence and abuse are not tolerated.

This is probably one of the more significant pieces of legislation that we have dealt with in this Assembly, certainly one of the most voluminous that I think I have seen in my time here. From its sheer size, we can see that this is a bill that will make a great deal of change to existing territory law. I will not have time to speak about every change in the bill. Many of the amendments are of a technical nature. Many have been

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