Page 4498 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 31 October 2018

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before it, the committee had to make a decision on what would be the most effective way for the Assembly to proceed. The committee was not attracted to a process where two pieces of legislation would be advanced simultaneously, as that would raise the potential for confusion and inadvertent effects from hurriedly drafted amendments.

In choosing which option to select, an important consideration for the committee was that the exposure draft is approximately 120 pages longer than the bill. This additional content largely reflects the results of internal consultation with various agencies of government that is not available in drafting a private member’s bill. While the committee recommended some changes to that content, the committee believes that the bulk of the exposure draft’s additional content has value and should be preserved. From a practical viewpoint, we believe it is easier to work from the exposure draft and make changes where necessary than it is to insert substantial amounts of additional content into the bill.

Accordingly, the committee did recommend that the Assembly should work with the exposure draft and not the bill, and that is covered in the first couple of recommendations. The committee then did consider the issues of process around this, given that there is considerable impetus and community expectation that the legislation be done this year. In recommendation 3 the committee has made some procedural recommendations which could enable a bill to be passed during the final sitting week of this year. That will require that the government circulate a draft before the sitting week that would be provided to the scrutiny of bills committee and also to all the parties in this place and that we have some degree of, I guess, pre-discussion or pre-negotiation so that we can bring a largely completed bill to the chamber to enable us to suspend standing orders and do the legislation in one week.

The committee did also note the other possibility of having an additional sitting day, should the Assembly prefer that. We lay those suggestions out as recommendations to the Assembly. Others may have other ideas.

In terms of key recommendations, overall the recommendations are largely what I might describe as technical or in the detail. The committee identified some areas where we have invited the government and the parliamentary drafters and their advisers to further consider matters that we felt were perhaps unclear or might warrant a little further examination, and largely have made recommendations in substance as we seek to compare the two pieces of legislation and also the New South Wales legislation, which was certainly the foundation that the original committee saw as being a key basis for ACT legislation.

I will touch on a couple of the other recommendations that may be of interest to members. When it comes to who would be eligible to be appointed the commissioner, the committee did form the view that the exposure draft was too narrow in only recommending that former judges be appointed and has recommended that we take a broader approach, where someone who is qualified as an Australian legal practitioner for at least 10 years would also be considered appropriate. The committee felt that that was a suitable length of experience, whilst opening the field up to a greater range of appointments.

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