Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 10 October 2006
Parliamentary Record 10
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Tuesday 10 October 2006 3094 Speaker. We are in fact dealing with Serial No 68. If you bear with me for just a second. Madam Speaker, can I make it clear that the comments I have made thus far were in relation to the Justice Legislation Amendment (Group Criminal Activities) Bill. For the reasons I have outlined, that is, it was understood from the Whips and certainly by my office that that was the bill we were proposing to deal with. Clearly, I will repeat those remarks at another time. Attorney-General, you will be delighted to hear that the comments I propose to make in relation to this bill, Serial 68 are fundamentally different from the ones in relation to the bill known as the gangs bill. The amendments in the Justice Legislation Amendment Bill, although lengthy, are in so many ways straightforward. They represent a fairly standard and not infrequent repairing or rectification of various legislative matters. We have seen it before under this government and I am sure it occurred under the previous government. Having had a look at all of the legislation that this bill touches, and it is many the list goes on and on, everything from the Domestic Violence Amendment Act, Commercial and Private Agents Licensing Act, Associations Act, the Legal Aid Commission Act, the Supreme Court Act, and the Unit Titles Act, just to name a few; the Interpretation Act is always an interesting one to tinker with; the Cullen Bay Marina Act. The list really does go on. These are for the most part standard and uncontentious amendments. It would be an unwise opposition regardless of which side of politics they came from in my view to oppose legislation of this nature. I could take swipes at government, tempting though it is, when it comes to the need to amend some of this legislation because this is some of the legislation that this government has brought in. I understand that the government receives advice from Parliamentary Counsel and other people from within the Department of Justice and mistakes on occasion can be made. I think at the last sittings we debated a bill that contained some very serious omissions from the bill that the government intended to introduce. I called it the Oops Bill. I do not say that in relation to this bill. I simply say that for the most part they are standard, reasonable and uncontentious amendments. I am very pleased to be able to say that we support them. Mr STIRLING (Justice and Attorney General): Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for her comments. The Justice portfolio covers 143 separate acts so there will always be from time to time a need for bills of this nature to ensure that the legislation on our books is doing as it is intended to best accomplish government objectives. The bill demonstrates that the previous Attorney-General, and indeed I will carry that same attitude near enough is not good enough in legislation. These amendments have arisen from a wide variety of sources: stakeholders in the community, community, industry and interest groups. It shows that my predecessor and it is a role I intend to emulate in terms of listening to the community where they foresee deficiencies in legislation and work is done to rectify it. They are not necessarily errors in drafting or errors in legislation, but more matters of interpretation, or a better way of expressing the legislation to ensure that it is meeting governments requirements to accomplish objectives. I thank the member for Araluen for her comments. Motion agreed to; bill read a second time. Mr STIRLING (Justice and Attorney General)(by leave): Madam Speaker, I move that the bill be now read a third time. Motion agreed to; bill read a third time. MOTION Note Statement Volatile Substance Misuse and Prevention and Intervention Program Continued from 24 August 2006. Ms McCARTHY (Arnhem): Madam Speaker, I support the statement on volatile substance abuse. I am delighted to be able to give a progress report on communities in Arnhem Land. We have heard many times in this House about the scourge of petrol sniffing in our remote communities, and the efforts by local families and organisations and police to not only help sniffers rehabilitate, but to preferably get rid of sniffing altogether. When I first toured the Arnhem region, I learnt quite quickly about the devastating effects of sniffing in places like Ngukurr. In Ngukurr, there were young men and women who were struggling with their addictions. The fears of family members unsure or unable to deal with this problem were highlighted in the inquiry that was held across the Northern Territory and carried through quite strongly by the previous minister and now the current minister in the battle of this government against petrol sniffing. The act provides a range of new powers to enable individuals, communities and government agencies to prevent and better respond to sniffing. These include powers for police and others to search individuals and seize and dispose of
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