Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 August 2008) . . Page.. 3393 ..
The amendments remove any doubt that the tribunal is not required to comply with the rules of evidence under the Evidence Act 1995—that is a commonwealth act. I understand that is as per existing law. They provide flexibility in terms of the period allowed for lodgement and applications for renewal of administrative decisions. They clarify the fact that residential tenancy matters are not regarded as civil disputes for the purpose of jurisdictional disputes involving sums of money less than $10,000. That sum, of course, is the maximum amount of a claim in the Small Claims Court. They allow ACAT to make rules as to persons who can represent a person before it and provides ACAT with discretion as to whether a matter would better be dealt with by going direct to an ACAT hearing rather than a pre-hearing settlement process.
They provide that privilege in relation to evidence given at a preliminary conference is not available for false or misleading evidence or some other evidence relating to the administration of justice, for example, matters that go to an application of the criminal code. They provide ACAT with flexibility as to whether a hearing should be a public hearing or not. They allow witnesses to make copies of original documents and provide ACAT with explicit power strengthening the implicit power to set aside a subpoena. They broaden the range of people with whom a tribunal member might be associated with who might create a conflict of interest for the member and the range of matters that might create a conflict. They clarify that an administrative order of the tribunal takes effect from the day the order is made and ensure that an authorising law may confer particular responsibilities only on a non-presidential member and cannot be delegated to the registrar. They also omit redundant definitions.
Amendments in relation to the ACAT amendment bill introduced on 3 July preserve existing law dealing with the time frame for dealing with applications for the review of administrative decisions under the Heritage Act, the Planning and Development Act and the Tree Protection Act. They allow the making of transitional regulations and correct minor drafting errors, including the impact of the renumbering of the sections of the Children and Young People Act 2008.
Amendments in relation to the ACAT bill No 2 introduced on 7 August remove an item from the list of reviewable decisions included in error, I understand, in relation to the Animal Welfare Act—that is, refuse to approve the way of using a tag. There is also an amendment to remove doubt that jurisdiction for civil matters under $10,000 does not interfere with the Magistrates Court enforcement jurisdictions.
As Mr Mulcahy has said, they seem to be non-contentious amendments. I just close by saying that we have a number of bills left to debate, some tomorrow, some next week. If you have any further amendments in relation to those, would you please get them to everyone tomorrow, so we do not have a situation like we had this bill and with several other bills where we are still getting amendments. I just urge the government to do that.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.12): I reiterate, of course, what others have said—that is, it was a rather sorry process for us to receive the amendments yesterday afternoon. Even though the minister claimed they were not contentious—of course, he knew that because he knew what was in them—and they are not, it is very hard for a member wanting to do this job properly to just accept that on trust. I am very thankful that the