Page 2734 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 July 2008

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MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.38): I have just talked to Mrs Burke about the matter. We are happy as far as that goes, minister, so we will not press our amendment. Mind you, it is probably handy to monitor it because, at the end of the day, we do not want the court going off on a tangent or on a very narrow interpretation of the law, as it seems it did, and which caused your original amendment. We want to make sure there is the necessary flexibility for appropriate orders, including, obviously, an order for eviction, if that is necessary in order to get rid of a horribly disruptive tenant—not only the tenant who does not pay rent but the tenant who refuses to live by normal, civilised standards and causes their neighbours all sorts of problems. Unfortunately, we see that, be they private tenants or public housing tenants, and even in big complexes, and they make their neighbours’ lives a misery. This is something we will monitor, but I note what you say.

Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill 2008

Debate resumed from 10 April 2008, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (4.40): The opposition will be supporting this bill. It contains a number of sensible provisions which will make the lot of police, with respect to the keeping of evidence, far better than is the case at present. It puts into effect the national agreement between all Australian jurisdictions for the sharing of DNA information. It improves efficiencies in the enforcement and implementation of the act and related legislation.

There are also some provisions in terms of compliance with the Human Rights Act. Sometimes that can go a little bit overboard; we have to balance rights. Unfortunately, the Human Rights Act does have a propensity for—in fact, more than half its sections seem to concentrate on—the rights of offenders rather than of victims and society. So we will have to monitor that to see that it does not go too far overboard. But the provisions, insofar as they go, seem to be relatively innocuous and seem to represent what would be standing operating procedure. Whether you need it in legislation, I suppose, is another matter.

Most importantly, the bill clarifies that the ACT continues to own the ACT DNA database that is uploaded to the national crime investigation database. To do this, the government has engaged CrimTrac—we think that is sensible—which also manages the national database and is the ACT’s agent in handling our data. The bill creates consistency with other jurisdictions regarding the circumstances in which DNA can be matched across jurisdictions, with special rules applying when matching DNA that has been volunteered.

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