Page 2693 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 July 2008

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confident that the bill will achieve its objectives and I have no problem in offering it my support.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.20), in reply: I thank members for their support of this bill. As members have noted, this is the 18th bill in a series dealing with legislation within the Justice and Community Safety portfolio.

Of particular interest, as members have noted, is the amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 to provide parties in the RTT with an additional option to seeking an application for eviction. Instead of immediately ordering an eviction, in the appropriate case the tribunal will be encouraged to give the tenant an opportunity to correct their errant behaviour which led to the breach and prevent the issuing of an eviction order. The amendments give the tribunal an explicit power to make a termination and possession order in the event of a tenant breaching a specific performance order made previously by the court—that is, an order which obliges a party to fulfil their contractual obligations under the lease.

As members may be aware, I am also currently seeking broader feedback on the operation of the Residential Tenancies Act and have been inviting submissions from interested parties and the public. That is a matter which I will be pursuing further during this term.

I would also like briefly to thank the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs for its comments in relation to the proposed amendments to section 45 of the Human Rights Commission Act. These amendments deal with circumstances in which the commission need not consider a complaint or notify the person complained about in a complaint. These amendments will address the problem where the commission receives repeated vexatious or frivolous complaints or complaints which are not made honestly or where they may lack substance, and other complaints which cannot be made under the act.

In response to the committee’s comments relating to the explanatory statement for these amendments, the explanatory statement has been revised to elaborate on the full set of circumstances in which it is proposed that the Human Rights Commission need not notify the person complained about, and I thank the committee for raising this matter.

Further, in response to the committee’s suggestion that a person should be given an opportunity to deal with an allegation made, I fully support the principle. However, I am advised by the commission that the proposed discretion not to do so would only be exercised in situations where there are repeated complaints made against a person or a matter is so trivial or fanciful that it is a waste of public resources for the commission to inquire into them.

The commission is currently required to inform people who are the subject of a complaint about all complaints made about them, whether or not they are repeat complaints of a frivolous or vexatious nature or complaints which are not made honestly or lack substance. I am advised that it is a source of great annoyance and

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