Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 23 September 2010) . . Page.. 4435 ..
make clear the law they are relying on. If such a failure ever amounted to a miscarriage of justice, it would be appropriate for an appeal to be open.
While my office has been waiting for that clarification from the attorney, we have also consulted with members of the legal profession, who have advised that it is current practice in the Supreme Court for judges to include warnings, directions and comments in their judgements. So in that respect the amendment captures current practice. On the basis of the attorney’s advice and our consultations with the legal profession, the Greens are satisfied that the amendment in part 3.2 is appropriate; we support it and the remainder of the bill.
I am aware of Mrs Dunne’s amendment, obviously, and I will make some brief comments in light of Mrs Dunne’s observations in her remarks. The issue of what goes in a JACS bill or an omnibus bill has had some airing in this chamber this year. On this particular matter, I have formed the view that, whilst it has been a bit of a complex matter and it has taken some thought to work through it, the fact that ultimately our research shows that it is a matter of common practice settles my mind that it does fit the nature of a JACS bill and simply implements current practice. I do not believe it signifies a significant policy change. On that basis, we will not be supporting Mrs Dunne’s amendment. I foreshadow that at this stage.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (12.21), in reply: This bill is the 26th bill in a series of legislation that concerns the Justice and Community Safety portfolio. I would like to address the issue of the substance of omnibus bills. The government supports the commitment first made in March this year, following a motion in this place, to ensure that major new policy initiatives are pursued through a distinct and separate bill. The government is also committed to ensuring that the norm is that any substantive issues pursued through a JACS bill would not be controversial.
Again, Mrs Dunne puts an absurd position by suggesting that, because a matter is substantive, it should not be in this bill. The principle is that it can be substantive, but it should not be controversial and should simply reflect an understanding of existing agreed policy, as outlined in legislation. That is exactly what this bill does. It is wrong for Mrs Dunne to claim otherwise and pompous in the extreme to present her argument in that way.
The amendments in the bill involve a mixture of minor and technical amendments, together with a number of more substantive but non-controversial amendments. Technical amendments allow for the efficient indexing of jury payments, and the more substantive amendments amend evidence law and consumer law in the territory to ensure it operates effectively and in a manner consistent with the government’s intention.
I thank the scrutiny of bills committee for their comments on this bill in their report 27. I have provided a response to those comments and outlined why I believe the suggested minor amendment proposed by the committee to the bill is not appropriate in the circumstances.