Page 3592 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 25 August 2009
In our view it is problematic and contrary to the intention of the HR Act, for legislation to be deemed compatible with human rights where it is, on its face, inconsistent with human rights, with the proviso that it can be read down at a later stage by the courts. If there is an inconsistency, it should be rectified in the drafting of the bill to ensure that the law is clear to all who might be affected by it. To do otherwise is counter-productive in the compatibility process, as well as confusing.
I think that is quite the point of this legislation. Everybody has agreed, in discussing the legislation, that some of it is stuff that we simply do not expect will actually be enforced, because it is wrong, it is silly, it is disproportionate. It is clear that under this legislation people posting lost dog notices could be prosecuted. Yes, the government has said that they could have been prosecuted under the previous legislation. That is true.
But what has happened is that the government is proposing to make it easier to prosecute people. That is the purpose of this legislation. The fact that they were not prosecuted in the past is of limited relevance. The fact is this legislation would make prosecution easier. The Greens are concerned that there are considerable human rights and freedom of expression implications of the proposed legislation.
We are also concerned about the proposed expansion to the promoter of the event that is being advertised. While we agree that there are issues with commercial promotion, we do not think it is reasonable that this should be made the case for charities and non-government events and we are particularly concerned that the burden of proof is in no way adequate for it to be a criminal offence. We would much prefer to see this offence be a civil offence and we have serious concerns about the strict liability issues.
As Mr Stanhope said, there will be a substantive debate on this, which I welcome, and I say, as I say in my dissenting report, that the Greens will not be supporting this legislation without substantial amendments.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Cultural Facilities Corporation
Paper and statement by minister
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage): I present the following paper:
Cultural Facilities Corporation Act, pursuant to subsection 15(2)—Cultural Facilities Corporation—Quarterly report (for the third quarter 2008-2009: 1 January to 31 March 2009).
I seek leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.