Page 3300 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 22 September 2015

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As members know from the debate in the in-principle stage last sitting week, this bill will amend several pieces of ACT legislation to enhance ACT Policing’s ability to protect the lives and sexual safety of children in our city and community. This includes amendments to the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005 to introduce police powers of entry and search based on a specialised warrant application to verify personal details reported by a registrable child sex offender or their compliance with a prohibition order. The introduction of entry and search warrants will ensure that ACT Policing has modern tools to allow for the effective monitoring and management of registered child sex offenders in the ACT.

As members know from the debate last week, the provisions had been drafted in close consultation with police and our Human Rights Commission and are in accordance with the territory’s Human Rights Act. The amendments I have moved this morning are amendments to sections 116Q(4) and 116Z and clarify that the immunities in those provisions apply to evidence that has been obtained directly or indirectly and that the immunity relates to the registrable offender in a proceeding.

Dealing with the specifics of the amendments, in relation to amendment 1, in recognition of the fundamental importance of balancing the human rights of a person affected by changes in the law against the rights and interests of the community to protect children from sexual assault and violence, sections 116Q (4) and 116Z provide a derivative use immunity to the registered offender. This immunity means that any information, document or thing obtained directly or indirectly because the person was required to facilitate access to the contents of the information is not admissible in evidence against the registered offender in a civil or criminal proceeding other than a proceeding for an offence against the child sex offenders act or part 3.4 of the criminal code 2002 which deals with the provision of false or misleading information.

In relation to information that is obtained under the general entry and search powers, the immunities also provide an exclusion for class 1 or class 2 offences outlined in the child sex offenders act. This means that evidence obtained during a search about class 1 or class 2 offences can be used by authorities to progress a criminal charge. This approach is consistent with the purposes of the child sex offenders act and the need to balance the rights of offenders with those of children and the community generally. The government amendments clarify the original intent of the amendments that the immunity provided under these provisions relates to material obtained directly or indirectly and that the immunity relates to evidence against the registrable offender in proceedings.

Amendment 2 mirrors the amendment to proposed new section 116Q(4) and makes the same changes. I commend the amendments to the Assembly.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.25): We will be supporting the amendments. As I indicated in the in-principle stage, we are supportive of the intent of this legislation. We find ourselves in a situation where there were extensive comments provided by the scrutiny committee to the government and the government has responded in detail. Then there were further comments provided by the scrutiny committee back to the government and this has played out over the last

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