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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 May 2012) . . Page.. 2074 ..

The committee has received a response from the Attorney-General in relation to the Road Transport (General) Amendment Bill 2012. The committee is concerned at the view that a government explanatory statement will only address any rights issues in terms of the rights stated in the ACT Human Rights Act.

From 1989 the committee has had the role of considering whether clauses in bills and subordinate laws “unduly trespass on personal rights and liberties”. For this purpose the committee drew on the way the courts applied the presumption of liberty in the interpretation of statutes and the rights stated in international human rights instruments. While it was uncommon for an explanatory statement to proactively raise and deal with rights issues, the minister responded to issues identified by the committee. There was no difference of view about how the concept of personal rights and liberties should be understood.

It is undesirable that an explanatory statement should not proactively address rights issues apart from those raised under the Human Rights Act. This is not helpful to the committee, to members or to the public. They should not need to refer firstly to the explanatory statement and then to any other discussion in a response to a committee report. I commend the report to the Assembly.

Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill 2012

Debate resumed from 16 February 2012, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.04): The Canberra Liberals will support the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill 2012. I understand that the attorney will introduce a range of amendments to the bill and we will support those as well.

This bill responds to a national approach, agreed to by the Ministerial Council of Police and Emergency Management, to the management and monitoring of perpetrators of sex offences against children and young people. Also included are amendments to address issues raised by ACT Policing and the ACT Ombudsman.

The substantive element of this bill is the addition of chapter 5A to the act. This chapter creates a prohibition order scheme. The Chief Police Officer will be able to apply to the Magistrates Court for an order in respect of a child sex offender. This will apply to young people as well as adults, although there is a range of special considerations in cases where a young person is the offender. There is scope too for interim prohibition orders while full prohibition orders are being processed.

As well, application can be made to the court for leave to apply for orders to be amended or revoked. And there are provisions for the appointment of litigation guardians for people with legal disabilities. Appeal provisions will be in place too, and criminal penalties for a range of associated breaches are proposed, including significantly increased penalties for registered offenders who fail in any one of their 21 reporting obligations.

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