Page 367 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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It makes amendments to the Coroners Act 1997 which provide that if a coroner reports to the Attorney-General in relation to an inquest or inquiry into a fire or disaster the coroner must also give a copy of the report to the responsible minister. If an issue of public safety is raised, then the responsible minister must also table a response to the report in the Assembly.

Importantly, the amendments also give the responsible minister the discretion to remove sensitive personal information that is likely to identify the deceased, after considering the concerns of the immediate family. In all cases the responsible minister’s decision to remove the information must be made in the context of public interest. As this amendment has been through scrutiny and has been in the public arena for several weeks, we support this amendment. It looks reasonable and sensible.

The bill also makes amendments to the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991, including amendments to the act that allow the ACAT to suspend an enduring power of attorney instead of revoking it entirely. This amendment recognises it is not always appropriate to revoke an enduring power of attorney in its entirety, for example when the ACAT exercises its power to temporarily appoint the Public Trustee and Guardian under an emergency order.

With regard to the Human Rights Act 2004 and the Human Rights Commission Act 2005, there are amendments that remove some references to the Attorney-General and replace them with “Minister”. However, some sections remain with references to the Attorney-General as the first law officer of the territory. These amendments appear technical.

In regard to the Juries Act 1967, this amendment allows airline operating staff to claim an exemption from jury duties, which was formerly available under the repealed air navigation regulations.

Amendments to the Tenancies Act 1997 allow the applicant for a protection order to apply to the ACAT for an order to terminate their residential tenancy agreement with the respondent named in the protection order, and this is part of the process of assisting people with protection orders.

The amendment to the Terrorism (Extraordinary Temporary Powers) Act 2006 is consequential to the Human Rights Act and the Human Rights Commission Act to replace “Attorney-General” with “Minister” in the terrorism act.

As I mentioned, there is an amendment to this bill that we got on 2 February, along with a request to dispense with standing order 182A, scrutiny. Again, at the same briefing I had with the Attorney-General’s office, it was advised that this is a technical amendment from PCO, and essentially it is as simple as adding the word “or” to clarify that there is a singular requirement that needs to be met—“something or something or something” as opposed to meeting the three requirements. In essence, it was a drafting error from some time ago. We will support that, noting its late notice.

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