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Tuesday, 12 November 1985
Page: 1960

Senator HAINES —Is the Minister representing the Attorney-General aware of the research put forward by a senior officer from the Australian Institute of Criminology at a national conference on domestic violence yesterday and also of the contents of a report on homelessness released at a poverty summit in Melbourne? Can the Minister say why church groups and other community groups in the Australian Capital Territory are being forced to cope with the problems confronting the victims of homelessness and domestic violence when that role properly belongs to government agencies and the Australian Federal Police? Does the Minister agree that there is a resource deficiency in the Australian Capital Territory, particularly with regard to staffing of the Australian Federal Police? Further, does he consider that the uniformity and adequacy of State and Territory legislation relating to homelessness and domestic violence should be discussed as a matter of urgency by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General? If he does, can he say when the matter is likely to be placed on that Committee's agenda?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am not aware of the reports to which Senator Haines referred. I hope I was not supposed to be.

Senator Haines —I thought you knew everything.

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am indebted to the honourable senator for that contribution, but I am unable to honour it on this occasion. I will see what I can find out from the Minister and advise the honourable senator accordingly.

Senator HAINES —Whilst I can appreciate that the Minister does not know the contents of the report, could he give me an answer to the second part of the question relating to the need for uniformity and adequacy of State and Territory legislation, particularly that relating to domestic violence?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I would not dare to offer a comment on anything to do with policy in my former portfolio without referring to the present Attorney-General. I will do that with all deliberate speed and build that into the answer that is given back to the Senate.