Page 2094 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 2 August 2016

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However, the section does hold that a police officer may only detain the person if there is a risk to the affected person of family violence by the respondent and the order is immediately necessary to ensure the safety of the affected person from violence or prevent substantial damage to the affected person’s property and it is not practicable to arrest the respondent. This is an emergency provision. Given the tragic consequences of what can happen in these circumstances this is an instance where this caution can prevent significant harm and, again noting those issues and concerns, we will support this provision.

Finally, we also make note about the resources required by the courts to put this into practice, and we need to monitor that to make sure that again the court has sufficient resources.

There is a late government amendment that was circulated after the tabling of the bill, and we have got no objection to the amendment which will extend the commencement date of the bill. We will support the Family Violence Bill.

In terms of the Personal Violence Bill, we will support this bill also. Essentially it is part of the same package, with similar effect, and establishes the legal framework for the protection of people from personal violence other than family violence and workplace violence to prevent and reduce personal violence.

The bill will, amongst other things, make provisions for personal violence and workplace violence protection orders, promote mediation of appropriate matters and create offences to enforce protection orders. The bill provides the matters that a court must consider in deciding whether to make a protection order.

In conclusion I thank all of the stakeholders that have provided advice to the opposition and the responses that we got from the Attorney-General’s office which also arranged a briefing with public servants who provided us with advice in answer to questions.

This is a complex and difficult area of law and there are careful balances to be made between keeping people safe and maintaining people’s rights. With the comments that I have made, the Canberra Liberals will support these bills but I do foreshadow that if we do form government in October, with so much change that has been effected over the past 12 to 18 months in these complex areas and with significant increases to funding which we have supported, this is an area that I think will warrant ongoing particular attention in government to make sure that we have got the balance right and that the good intentions that have led to the laws that we have made in this place actually do result in better outcomes on the ground and that particularly any unintended consequences are understood and, if necessary, rectified.

Noting the concerns and noting that even though we have made laws in this place, I think there is a duty on us to make sure that we monitor the effect of those laws to make sure that they have the effect that is purported in the legislation. We do support it but we will be ever vigilant, be it in government or in opposition.

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