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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 February 2015) . . Page.. 371 ..

The amendments also address an issue about the dearth of suitably qualified male practitioners who can undertake forensic procedures. Although it is fair and proper that a person undergoing the procedure should be able to choose the gender of the practitioner undertaking the procedure, it is not always practicable. It is often the case that forensic procedures must be undertaken with some urgency. Lack of male practitioners can put that urgency at risk. Therefore, it is sensible to provide that the procedure be undertaken by a person of the same sex, if practicable, rather than by consent. I note that volunteers will continue to have the choice.

Finally, I comment on the amendments to the Firearms Act 1996. Among the amendments made to this act are some that will cut significant lengths of red tape in circumstances in which trainers and students are using firearms owned by an approved club on the shooting range for instructional purposes. As a matter of principle, any parliament should support cuts to unnecessary or burdensome red tape that gets in the way of practicalities. Cuts to red tape of this nature clear the way for outcomes. Clearly, this is of benefit to the community as a whole and, in my view, will not lead to a reduction in firearms safety.

These amendments and others in the bill that I have not covered specifically are a step forward, an improvement in the law. I acknowledge that but note that I look forward to working cooperatively with the government, particularly should the elements regarding the use of carriage services and the capturing of information require amendment in the future.

MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (11.25): The Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 makes a number of significant amendments to our criminal laws in the ACT. This government is on a continuous reform and improvement journey. The attorney is constantly bringing forward changes to ACT legislation as a response to issues and concerns raised by the full range of stakeholders in our justice system. This bill responds to concerns raised by the Victims of Crime Commissioner, the ACT Firearms Consultative Committee, the Family Violence Intervention Program Coordinating Committee, firearms clubs, women’s services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocates, to name a few. As you have heard from the Attorney-General on its introduction, the bill will make important amendments to the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 to address issues around fairness, procedure and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The bill will also address a gap in our laws to capture behaviour involving observing or recording people in a way that amounts to a violation of their privacy. I am very supportive of the measures on voyeurism offences which bring the ACT into line with other jurisdictions in the protection of members of the community against indecent, repugnant invasions of privacy. It is particularly important that we protect young and vulnerable people in our community. This behaviour is not tolerated by the community, and the law now reflects that sentiment.

This bill will also progress a number of other amendments to improve criminal laws in the ACT.

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