Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3709 ..
be familiar with all the points that the scrutiny committee makes about problems with the explanatory statement. It is a bit concerning when you get an explanatory statement like that, because it usually means that it is rushed, and often there are new problems with the content as well. Today I have already raised the problem with human rights issues not being adequately dealt with in explanatory statements, even though those are the places where we are meant to find that discussion.
But all in all, this is a good bill. I commend the people who worked to make it so.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.08), in reply: I would like to take this opportunity to briefly set out what this bill will change and what it will not change.
The bill will not change how a final protection order is made: factors the court must take into account before making a final order or the type of conditions that can be included in a final order. A final order in response to domestic violence will last for a maximum period of two years. Emergency orders and workplace protection orders will also remain the same. In terms of the management of firearms in circumstances where domestic violence orders are made, the provisions will also remain the same, namely that firearms licences will be automatically cancelled.
A significant change to this bill is how interim domestic violence orders will become final orders. The current provisions relating to this issue were adopted from the national Model domestic violence laws report. These provisions automatically make an interim order into a final order in circumstances where a respondent does not respond to the court by a specified date.
The Supreme Court critically examined these provisions in the case of I v S. The court considered circumstances in which a respondent who had an identifiable legal disability, a minor, did not have the legal standing to respond to the requirements set out under the act in order to engage with the legal notices issued by the court. The Supreme Court found that a process that did not involve a judicial decision to make an interim order a final order would be inconsistent with a respondent’s right to fair trial.
The bill therefore addresses the fair trial issue raised by this case, whilst maintaining an effective system to protect people in the need of the protection of an order. To achieve this, the bill changes the process for interim orders becoming final orders and introduces a new set of review powers for the Magistrates Court.
An interim order is a short-term protection order issued by the court on application by a person seeking protection. An interim order can be made if the court is satisfied that an order is necessary in the absence of a respondent. The interim order triggers a process that results in a hearing involving both parties, prior to the interim order becoming a final order.
Unfortunately, as a consequence of the very nature of domestic violence there are respondents who resist engaging with the process required by the legislation that leads to a final hearing. Likewise, there are some respondents who do not engage with the process for perfectly acceptable reasons. The new process detailed in this bill will