Page 3196 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 18 August 2009

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Whereas previously the legislation left the decision wholly to the discretion of the court, this amendment provides the basic framework under which such decisions will be made. That is a positive step and one the Greens support. There is no suggestion or evidence to show that the court has ever inappropriately exercised its discretion to issue an arrest warrant for witnesses, but this amendment simply removes any risk of that occurring, and that is a responsible path to take.

A number of particular amendments were commented on by the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety in its role as the scrutiny of bills committee. The committee recommended that the Attorney-General address those issues identified. The issues raised specific policy questions surrounding a number of individual acts. The minister has responded to those issues in a letter to the committee, which I have been provided a copy of, and I am satisfied that the response of the Attorney-General adequately addresses the concerns of the committee by setting out the broader policy context for the amendments. The remaining amendments in the bill will be supported by the Greens.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.52), in reply: I thank members for their support of this legislation. As members have noted, the bill makes a number of changes to a range of acts. I have to disagree with some of the comments made by Mrs Dunne where she suggests that these changes are such that they required some form of broader community consultation. I think once you look at the detail of these amendments, you would note that they really have come about as a result of issues raised by the agencies or elements of government which are responsible for the administration of these acts where they have identified a range of issues that have needed clarification. Indeed, the intention is to ensure that these matters are clarified. The bill amends 15 separate pieces of legislation, and all the amendments are worded following that process of identifying the need for clarification that I mentioned earlier.

I would like to take the opportunity to discuss some of the more notable amendments in the bill and also to address the issues raised by the Standing Committee of Justice and Community Safety in its scrutiny report. The Door-To-Door Trading Act amendments are notable examples of the kinds of improvements introduced in the bill. These amendments ensure that the consumer protections extended under the act remain relevant and easy for consumers to understand in the context of telephone marketing. The purpose of the act was to deal broadly with the unsolicited marketing of products to ACT consumers, but the act used some language that was easier to understand in terms of face-to-face meetings than in other contexts, such as a telephone call. Therefore, the amendments clarify the way the act applies to telephone calls and removes any doubt that consumers who are urged to buy products by telephone receive the same protections as those who are urged to buy products by a door-to-door salesperson.

For example, the act requires standard paper notices of a consumer’s rights to be given before a contract is made between a consumer and a dealer. The amendments add that in a telephone call, these notices of rights must be read out loud to the consumer before the contract is made. Similar clarifications are made throughout the act to detail clearly how consumer protections will apply in telephone calls. These

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