Page 3821 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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The bill will make a number of changes related to the repeal of the Mediation Act. It will provide for appropriate protections in relation to confidentiality and immunity for court-referred mediations and ensure these protections extend to any mediation proceedings in any court. An amendment will also be made in line with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 to provide that evidence of anything said or done in the course of mediation is not admissible in any hearing before ACAT in the proceeding, unless all parties agree to the giving of the evidence. This will remove the possibility of an interpretation that restricts the intended application of the provision.

Finally, the bill will make the position of Principal Registrar of the ACT Courts and Tribunal a statutory appointment. Making this a statutory position will give the position legislative authority and bring the ACT into line with other jurisdictions. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Electoral Amendment Bill 2015

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—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (10.50): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present the Electoral Amendment Bill 2015 today. This bill will amend the Electoral Act 1992. The bill will clarify the application of the Electoral Act to the communications allowance paid to members as part of their salary under the recent Remuneration Tribunal determination. Since 1 July 2014 a communications allowance has been paid to MLAs as part of their salary. The communications allowance is a single allowance replacing a number of allowances formerly paid to members to assist them in performing their functions as members, including the discretionary office allowance previously administered by the Office of the Legislative Assembly.

This bill amends the Electoral Act to make it clear that the new communications allowance is to be treated in the same way as the previous discretionary office allowance in relation to electoral expenditure. The effect of the bill is that expenditure undertaken by members using their communication allowance that could potentially fall within the definition of electoral expenditure is explicitly excluded from the definition of electoral expenditure and is excluded from the items required to be reported as amounts paid in the annual returns by parties and members.

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