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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 10 March 2016) . . Page.. 1005 ..

MR HANSON: Yes, my apologies, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Canberra Liberals will support this bill. The bill and the explanatory statement make it clear that they reappoint two members of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Peta Spender and Elizabeth Symons, as presidential members. They were both originally appointed for seven-year terms but they were revoked in error on 1 January this year. The purpose of the bill is to reinstate the members from 1 January and to ensure that their decisions—the decisions of both members for the period from 1 January through to the current—are not subject to review or appeal.

The government proposes that this bill be dealt with as urgent under standing order 192, and that it be debated this week. Certainly, I understand the consequences if this bill were not to be passed. I am disappointed, obviously, that we are here today, but I will resist any urge to point score. I am glad that when the minister tabled this legislation he accepted that this was not good practice, that this was an error. Although I am not happy to see such an error take place, and understand the consequences of it, it is important when these errors are identified that they are addressed immediately and that is occurring today.

The decisions of the ACAT are important decisions and we have to make sure that the community, and those people who have been subject to the decisions of the ACAT, can have confidence in that process. As I said, regardless of the background to what has occurred, the Canberra Liberals will support this bill today.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.24): As the Attorney-General and Mr Hanson have outlined, this legislation arises as a result of an unfortunate error. Clearly, I am happy to support legislation that seeks to amend that error. I will be supporting this bill today.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Capital Metro, Minister for Health, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change) (5.24), in reply: I would like to thank the Liberal opposition and the Greens for their support of this bill today. As members have observed, it makes amendments to the legislation governing the Civil and Administrative Tribunal to remedy the effects of the inadvertent revocation of two ACAT member appointments.

As I stated on its presentation, the bill amends the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008, in effect, to reinstate the appointments of the two members from the 1 January 2016, the date on which their appointments were wrongly revoked, to the end of their original terms of appointment. The amendments not only reinstate the appointments of the members but ensure the validity of decisions the members made during the time their appointments were not in place.

As members have observed, prompt action is needed to remedy this problem. I have taken that action as soon as it has been brought to my attention. While I regret, significantly regret, the need to bring this bill before the Assembly, it is very important that this matter and uncertainties it raises be clearly resolved at the earliest opportunity so that the validity of decisions and orders made by the members concerned is put beyond doubt.

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