Page 3922 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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MR CORBELL: ACT Legal Aid will help people who require assistance to make an application under the scheme, and forms will be available on the ACT legislation register and the JACS website, for use when the scheme commences following its notification.

The eligibility criteria for extinguishing a conviction draw on the elements of the criminal law that relate to consent and age at the time of the sexual act. Firstly, the director-general must be satisfied that the other person involved in the sexual activity consented. To be satisfied of this, the director-general will not only look at the evidence gathered to inform the decision but be guided by section 67 of the Crimes Act 1900 which deals with when consent is negated.

The second requirement relates to the age of the other person involved in the sexual activity and mirrors the existing age requirements in the Crimes Act. To inform the decision the director-general may require any of the following people or bodies to provide specified information for the purposes of making a decision under the scheme: (a) a public employee as defined by the Public Sector Management Act; (b) a member of the Australian Federal Police; (c) a court; (d) the Director of Public Prosecutions; or (e) any other person or body prescribed by the regulations.

Before making a decision, the director-general may request the applicant to provide further specified information. If the applicant does not comply with this request, the director-general may refuse to consider the application further. The director-general must then inform an applicant in writing if the director-general is inclined to make a decision not to grant the application, to allow the applicant the opportunity to provide further information. If a decision is made not to extinguish a conviction, the applicant has the right to apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal for administrative review of the decision and, if their application is denied, they will only be able to reapply to have their conviction extinguished under the scheme if new information to support the application becomes available.

Importantly, a person whose application is successful will not be required to disclose their prior conviction under any circumstances. This differs from the approach taken for a spent conviction, where a spent conviction must still be declared when applying for working with vulnerable people checks.

The passage of this bill reflects and supports our community’s acceptance that consensual homosexual sex is not a crime. It ensures that territory laws do not discriminate on the basis of sexuality and it delivers on this Labor government’s enduring commitment to supporting an inclusive, diverse and tolerant community. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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