Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017

Other title

Parliamentary Record 5


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 1623 to 1686


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES Tuesday 9 May 2017 1645 help keep so many Territorians safe. I thank the minister for all the work she does in her portfolio, as I thank all members on the government side. We have worked on a number of pieces of legislation and brought them into the Assembly in the short period we have been in government. I thank our Deputy Chief Minister, the Member for Wanguri, for talking about our governments focus on putting children at the centre of what we do. She spoke briefly about the subcommittee of Cabinet. This has been a real pleasure; it is something I am passionate about being involved in. We are putting together a plan to help kidsto make sure that, as a Cabinet, when we are making those important decisions we focus first and foremost on what benefits children, to make sure there are key government agencies that work in the space of helping children and supporting families, and that they are working together across Cabinet. I acknowledge the supportive comments from the Members for Arnhem and Barkly, both of whom were passionate teachers in a former life, particularly in remote areas of the Northern Territory. Their expertise and contribution to the debate today is very important. This legislation implements recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse. It is the job of that Royal Commission to uncover where systems across Australia have failed to protect children, and to make recommendations on how to improve laws, policies and practices. Through the rest of this speech I will be referring to the Royal Commission, but I want to make it clear that I am referring to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse. We have the other Royal Commission taking place in the Territory, so I wanted to clarify that for people listening. We have heard so many people bravely tell their personal story to the Royal Commission with a view to creating a safer and better environment for all children and seeking justice for survivors of abuse. In September 2015 the Royal Commission released a report recommending the removal of limitation periods that apply to a claim for damages resulting from child sexual abuse in an institutional context. It is worth quoting the Royal Commissions specific recommendations on this issue. They provide the context for this bill. Recommendations 85 to 88 of the Redress and Civil Litigation report stated: 85. state and territory governments should introduce legislation to remove any limitation period that applies to a claim for damages brought by a person where that claim is founded on the personal injury of the person resulting from sexual abuse of the person in an institutional context when the person is or was a child 86. state and territory governments should ensure that the limitation period is removed with retrospective effect and regardless of whether or not a claim was subject to a limitation period in the past 87. state and territory governments should expressly preserve the relevant courts existing jurisdictions and powers so that any jurisdiction or power to stay proceedings is not affected by the removal of the limitation period 88. state and territory governments should implement these recommendations to remove limitation periods as soon as possible, even if that requires that they be implemented before the Royal Commissions recommendations in relation to the duty of institutions and identifying a proper defendant are implemented. The bill implements the Royal Commissions recommendation to remove statutory limitation periods for claims for damages for institutional sexual abuse. The bill extends the removal of the limitation periods to include serious physical and psychological abuse arising from sexual or serious physical abuse and it applies to personal injury claims for child abuse generally, not just limited to those alleged in institutions. The bill will amend the Limitation Act to remove limitation periods that otherwise apply to child abuse claims. Amendments include: