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Wednesday, 8 November 2000
Page: 19354

Senator HARRIS (9:54 AM) —by leave—I move Pauline Hanson's One Nation amendments Nos 8 to 11:

(8) Schedule 1, item 7, page 12 (line 14), omit "do either or both of the following".

(9) Schedule 1, item 7, page 13 (line 26), omit "is not", substitute "may be".

(10) Schedule 1, item 7, page 14 (line 15), at the end of section 70NIB, add:

; and (d) is to provide the list by mail to each person covered by an order to attend a program.

(11) Schedule 1, item 7, page 15 (line 12), omit "must", substitute "may".

I will speak briefly to the amendments. Amendment No. 8 goes to the powers of the court. Its intention is, similar to an earlier amendment, to allow the court greater discretion by deleting `do either or both of the following' so that the court may determine how it will administer that section of the act. Amendment No. 9 goes to 70NI, `Evidence'. It omits the words `is not admissible' and replaces them with the words `may be admissible'. The section would then read: `Evidence of anything said, or of any admission made, by a person attending before the provider of a program for assessment, or attending a program, may be admissible.'

Amendment No 10 goes to 70NIB in the bill, `List of programs', and the requirement of the Attorney-General, as the bill stands, to merely publish a revised list `in such a manner as he or she determines'. The amendment would require that, if a person is participating in a program and a change in the program is determined by the Attorney-General, that individual person be individually notified of that change. I believe that that is fair and reasonable. If you are participating in a program, it is reasonable that you, as an individual, are individually notified if there is any change in that program.

Amendment No. 11 goes to 70NJ(2)(A), under `Powers of court'. It would remove the word `must' in relation to the action the court must take `in respect of the person who committed the current contravention' to the order. Again, it allows the court the ability to determine. I believe that in lots of ways in this bill we are coming very close to crossing the boundary of the separation of powers, where legislation is binding and fettering the ability of the judiciary to carry out their function—that is, to assess on merit the cases that are before them.

In conclusion, the amendments are very varied in what they set out to do. But I believe that they would lead overall to a far greater acknowledgment of the rights of the individual and, at the same time, balance that with the very difficult judgment that is made by the judiciary in carrying out their function.