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Tuesday, 5 November 1985
Page: 1502


Senator COATES —Mr President, as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, I give notice that, 12 sitting days after today, I shall move:

That the Crimes (Amendment) Ordinance (No. 3) 1985, as contained in Australian Capital Territory Ordinance No. 40 of 1985 and made under the Seat of Government (Administration) Act 1910, be disallowed.

I seek leave, Mr President, to make a brief statement about this matter.

Leave granted.


Senator COATES —This Ordinance extends the jurisdiction of the Australian Capital Territory Court of Petty Sessions by giving magistrates increased jurisdiction over indictable offences. Generally the increased jurisdiction may be exercised only with the consent of a defendant. However, for certain offences which could be serious, there is a discretion for a magistrate to hear a case summarily without the consent of the defendant. This may affect a person's traditional right to a jury trial for those offences. The Committee has recently written to the Attorney-General (Mr Lionel Bowen) requesting his views on this aspect of the Ordinance. The Attorney-General's reply was received only yesterday, so the Committee has not yet had an opportunity to consider it. However, today is the last day for the giving of notice of motion on this matter, so I have done so to protect the Committee's freedom of action.