INTERVENTION ORDERS (PREVENTION OF ABUSE) (MISCELLANEOUS) AMENDMENT BILL

Second Reading

Ms CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (12:48): I rise to speak on the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2015, and indicate that I will be the lead speaker for the opposition. I confirm that the opposition will be supporting this bill which, essentially, provides amendment following the request for clarification by various agencies in the field to the Intervention (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009.

My colleague the member for Davenport has outlined a number of aspects of the bill which I will not repeat. Specifically, I want to respond to Justice Peek's decision in the case of Police v Siaosi (2014 SASC 131) hopefully to clarify reference to intervention orders which include a restriction of being in the presence of or in the vicinity of certain premises or localities and, secondly, to comply with a Labor Party election promise to require perpetrators to bear the financial costs of programs which they fail to attend. Hopefully, that will be an instrument to do two things; one of course is to ensure that the taxpayer is not meeting the cost when there has been a failure but, secondly, hopefully to be some instrument of discipline for them to attend because the ultimate objective here is to ensure where possible that there is attendance.

I suppose the third area is to tidy up the provision for the apparent reluctance of the judiciary to grant orders that are inconsistent with Family Court orders or superior court orders, notwithstanding that the current legislation clearly gives them the capacity to do so. These are all tidy-ups. They are necessary and meritorious, it appears, at least on some of these occasions.

I think it is fair to say that whether the distribution and notification of the terms of an intervention order is either in a summary form and electronically transferred, or attached to an email message and electronically transferred, is probably of no consequence. However, I am advised, and I expect this advice to be correct, that it is going to be quicker, more efficient and more reliable to summarise in some kind of pro forma way the terms of an intervention order and that that would be distributed. I expect in the first instance that it will take some time to do that; even to fill out a form online takes time.

I am not always greatly in favour of trying to summarise the effect of these things, but I am told that this will be then a consistent form that can be distributed to the various agencies because the fundamental flaw that it is attempting to resolve is the fact that other support agencies, when it comes to the enforcement of these matters, are actually familiar with the existence and terms of an order. The downside of this is that it leaves it open to important information being omitted in the course of that being distributed. In theory, it will be short and simple and available to the agencies to act upon. In any event, as I say, the member for Davenport has outlined a number of those aspects.

There are a number of areas I wish to traverse today, and one is the history in recent years of domestic violence cases in this state and how they have been dealt with. Members will probably be delighted to hear that I do not propose to go back over the last 15 years of failings on behalf of the government as I did in the previous bill; however, without inciting some fear or trepidation in those listening to this debate, I am going to refer to the Magna Carta of 1297, which is the version I want to refer to, and I trust that is the one that has been delivered to me.

I think it was 1215 that started all this, and members would probably be immediately familiar with the fact that King John I was on the throne and that the barons and earls of the day were outraged about how they were being treated, being raped and pillaged of taxes and having property confiscated and the like, and how their rights and liberties were being imposed upon. I think that is very familiar, actually. It has a familiar sound to it at the moment, doesn't it?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: History repeats itself.

Ms CHAPMAN: Indeed it does, Madam Deputy Speaker. As I had the opportunity to reread the Magna Carta recently and its translations, for another reason—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: As we all have done!

Ms CHAPMAN: I have a sorry life. I should place on the record that, of course, this is a document on which the foundation of our democracy sits. I would urge all of those who have not read the original, or copies of some of the originals, because there were multiple publications up to the late part of the 13th century, to do so.

Essentially, this was a log of claims from the barons and the earls to King John I of the day. Apart from being a foundation of a number of aspects and pillars of our democracy, one of the things they considered in it was the right and entitlement of widows to have occupancy of a property, usually for a period of days. If they lived in a castle, they had longer and had a right to a substitute dwelling.

One of the other things that they sought on behalf of women, given that there were no female barons or earls in those days, was the right to be able to give evidence, in respect of the reliability of their evidence being taken, if their husband was murdered. They could not and were not allowed to give evidence, reliably, to corroborate the death of any other man, but there was an exception for the husband.

How the wheel turns! Now we are in an era where we are seeking to protect women, more often than not, from their husband or partner in this environment. So, things do change. I am not going to go through the last 800 years, you will be pleased to hear.

Members interjecting:

Ms CHAPMAN: I would enjoy doing so, but I want to make this point: women have come a long way in the protection of themselves and frequently their children in domestic environments. They have had advances in respect of remuneration for their employment, not quite as far as I think it should go; nevertheless, equality of pay is another matter which still eludes us completely. They have had advances in respect of the opportunities to have publicly funded education. In fact, South Australia was one of the first states to introduce compulsory education for its citizens.

We have had advances in respect of protections that we seek in the domestic environment, and the credibility of our capacity to give evidence apart from being against a husband, which still has some protections under the Evidence Act, has developed as well, but domestic violence in the household has created a silent killer. We have heard statistics of one a week. I heard more recent statistics a few months ago that it is now the equivalent of about 1.5 per week, if we are to keep it consistent with the weekly figure, by a person who is either a known partner, a family relative or former partner of the victim.

It is particularly important that we deal with this legislation to tidy up other aspects, but it is also a reminder to us of what we are not doing. I have read in recent days a plethora of claims that we need to reform the law in respect of the partial defence of provocation. That was sparked by the case of Lindsay v The Queen in the High Court recently. On our side, we are proposing that the current Legislative Review Committee—a standing committee of this parliament—should receive a term of reference in respect of the investigation of the outcome of that decision, particularly as it made a very comprehensive review only in the last couple of years of this area of law reform as to the future application of the partial defence of provocation.

For those who might be following this debate, in short, the law of provocation allows for persons to plead that they were provoked into the killing of another party and, if successful, are able to reduce the conviction of murder to manslaughter, obviously with a significantly different penalty. I seek leave to continue my remarks.