Page 4765 - Week 11 - Thursday, 20 October 2011

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In addition to the explanatory notes in the bill, the parliamentary counsel, as always, is available to provide any further explanation or information that members would like about any of the amendments that are made by the bill. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Rattenbury) adjourned to the next sitting.

Evidence (Consequential Amendments) 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) (3.42): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I present the fourth and final bill in the series of bills that have been presented this year to reform the law of evidence in the ACT. This bill’s purpose is to make consequential amendments as a result of the establishment of the ACT’s Evidence Act 2011. The bill includes a large number of technical amendments which are necessary to recognise the establishment of the ACT’s Evidence Act and the cessation of commonwealth evidence law in the territory. These include amendments to update references to the commonwealth Evidence Act with references to the new ACT act. The bill also removes notes from provisions across the ACT statute book which refer to the operation of provisions in the commonwealth Evidence Act. These notes were included to raise awareness of the operation of the commonwealth law in the territory.

The bill also removes individual provisions from the statute book which are now redundant with the establishment of the ACT Evidence Act. For example, the new Evidence Act establishes a presumption as to the signature and status of an office holder under an Australian law. Across the territory’s statute book at the moment this presumption exists for specified office holders. One example is the Nature Conservation Act 1990, which establishes a presumption that a document that purports to have been signed by the conservator is taken to have been so signed. The broad operation of the new Evidence Act means that it is no longer necessary to have targeted provisions like the Nature Conservation Act provision throughout the statute book. This bill will remove these provisions.

In addition to these technical amendments, the bill repeals the Evidence Act 1971. The Evidence Act 1971 was formerly the Evidence Ordinance 1971 and enacted a comprehensive code of the law of evidence replacing various New South Wales statutes and other law previously in force in the ACT. A large proportion of the provisions in this act have become redundant on the establishment of the territory’s new Evidence Act, justifying its repeal in this bill.

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