Page 3855 - Week 09 - Thursday, 25 August 2011
members. By protecting the identity of these operatives, the bill will also enable effective ongoing cross-border operations and criminal investigations.
This bill will provide consistency across borders and certainty of protection for witnesses as it will enable a witness identity protection certificate issued in the ACT to be recognised in other jurisdictions and those issued in other jurisdictions to be recognised in the territory. I commend this bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Seselja) adjourned to the next sitting.
Evidence Amendment Bill 2011
Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.21): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
Today I present the third in a series of bills that will be presented this year to reform the law of evidence in the territory. This bill’s primary purpose is to amend the territory’s Evidence Act to implement parts of the uniform evidence law not currently operating in the territory through the commonwealth evidence law.
Members may remember that I originally intended to present these amendments to the Assembly in June. However, I advised members in June that it was appropriate to delay presentation until these sittings to allow the government to consider and consult on recent developments in journalist shield laws.
Following extensive stakeholder consultation, the bill that is being presented today will serve two purposes. Firstly, it will finalise the process of the ACT adopting the uniform evidence law and, secondly, it will ensure the continued operation of the commonwealth’s specific journalist privilege in the territory.
The territory established its own Evidence Act in April this year to independently adopt the uniform evidence law. This is the uniform evidence law that has been endorsed by all Australian attorneys-general and implemented in the commonwealth, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. However, the ACT only implemented those parts of the uniform law that had been adopted by the commonwealth and were already operating in the territory. In its current form, the Evidence Act does not substantively change the law of evidence applying in the territory.
The bill I am presenting today amends the Evidence Act to introduce new evidence law into the territory. It will establish the uniform professional confidential relationship privilege which was never adopted by the commonwealth and also