Page 5256 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2011

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The journalist privilege to be established in the territory is modelled on the new commonwealth privilege. The commonwealth privilege is in turn based on New Zealand legislation. The privilege is designed to strengthen the capacity of journalists to protect the identity of their sources.

The privilege establishes a presumption against the disclosure of evidence that would reveal the identity of a journalist’s source. However, in recognising the public interest in all relevant evidence being brought before the court, the privilege provides that the presumption can be rebutted. This will occur if the court is satisfied that the public interest in revealing the source’s identity outweighs both the likely harm to the source or another person and the public interest in reporting the news. Unlike the uniform professional confidential relationship privilege, the onus on establishing the public interest is on the party seeking disclosure.

The establishment of a journalist privilege in the territory, modelled on the new commonwealth privilege, will ensure that the law in relation to journalist privilege in the ACT continues unchanged following these evidence reforms. The ACT’s privilege is also largely consistent in operation with New South Wales, which established a similar privilege in June this year.

The amendments in this bill will see the ACT take the final steps in independently adopting the uniform evidence law in the territory. It will also ensure that the existing journalist shield law in the territory is continued once the completed package of evidence reforms commences in 2012.

I thank members for their support of the bill and I commend it to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Evidence (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011

Debate resumed from 20 October 2011, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.26): The Greens will be supporting this bill today. It is the fourth and final bill in this series that creates the ACT’s own Evidence Act for the first time.

Taken as a whole, these bills are a significant reform package and a large piece of work. To finalise the transition to a new and updated evidence law, the bill repeals references to the commonwealth law that applied previously. The changes proposed

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