Page 547 - Week 02 - Thursday, 16 February 2017

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Thursday, 16 February 2017

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms Burch) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Justice and Community Safety—Standing Committee

Statement by chair

MRS JONES (Murrumbidgee) (10.01): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety, in its legislative scrutiny role, concerning the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2017.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 amends both the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 and the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005. These acts provide for the director-general to exercise various functions in relation to intensive correction orders.

As recognised in the explanatory statement, the bill places limitations on the right to liberty and security of person at section 18 of the Human Rights Act. To the extent it requires samples to be taken for drug and alcohol testing it also engages the right to privacy under section 12 of the Human Rights Act. The reasonableness of any limitations was discussed in the scrutiny committee’s report on the Crimes (Sentencing and Restorative Justice) Amendment Bill 2015.

The bill, by retrospectively authorising functions under the two acts, would not generally be considered a distinct interference with the rights in question, and in any event any such interference would be considered a reasonable limit in accordance with section 28 of the Human Rights Act.

By retrospectively validating functions carried out by ACT Corrective Services staff the bill also validates any period of imprisonment that followed from those functions. The bill therefore could be argued to interfere with any entitlement of those affected by that imprisonment to seek remedies in an action for unlawful imprisonment, and to that extent trespasses on personal rights and liberties. However, as discussed in the explanatory statement, any trespass is limited.

The period in question, decisions affected by the bill and hence periods of imprisonment, circumstances under which the functions being validated were carried out—including that the functions carried out were within what staff at the time expected was a valid delegation—and the limited delay in seeking to validate the functions in question indicate that the bill does not unduly interfere with the rights of those affected by the bill.

Fortunately, the committee was able to receive some advice on this bill, despite the short time frame. I thank committee members for taking the time to meet at unusual times in order to gain this advice and to bring it to the chamber so that the Assembly

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