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Thursday, 29 March 1973
Page: 900

Mr ENDERBY (Australian Capital Territory) (Minister for the Capital Territory and Minister for the Northern Territory) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a third time.

I should like to say a few words in reply to some of the remarks made by the honourable member for Parramatta (Mr N. H. Bowen). It is true that the procedures that have been followed in this Bill and the original ordinance are not calculated to indicate the greatest degree of efficiency in the law making processes as they relate to the Australian Capital Territory. I think that many people would express concern - as, indeed, I do. One must realise that the initiative and support for the ordinance being disallowed in the Senate back in August 1971 came from all sectors of that House. I cannot quote the majority that supported the disallowance, but the general feeling was that a major step forward, as this undoubtedly was, in respect of the law of evidence, was such an involved piece of legislation - involving controversial questions even of philosophy as well as of the admission of evidence, confessions, statements, documentary evidence and other questions to which the honourable member for Parramatta referred - that there should be proper debate on the matter.

The honourable member for Parramatta referred to Professor Cross. I have a passage from Cross that might strike a note with the honourable member. In the Australian edition of 'Cross on Evidence' which stated the law as at January 1970, the learned author said:

When work began on this edition--

That would have been several years, perhaps many years, before January 1970- it was hoped that there would be a uniform Evidence Act for the Australian States and Territories, which would have greatly facilitated my task. Although that project has not yet come to fruition, I hope that this edition will help towards uniformity in the principles, if not the statutes, of the Australian law of evidence.

As we know, we still are a long way from that; but, as I mentioned in my second reading speech, the Attorney-General (Senator Murphy) is pressing on with that project and we can hope to see it in the not too distant future.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a third time.

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