Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 22 June 2016.)

Ms CHAPMAN ( Bragg—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (15:53): I indicate that I will be the lead speaker on Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) (Recognition of National Domestic Violence Orders) Amendment Bill 2016. Members will be aware that we have, through the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009, as a parliament, rewritten the domestic violence order procedures in this state subsequent to a comprehensive report prepared by Maurine Pyke QC, which has helped to nourish the reform in this area.

Members interjecting:

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I can't hear the deputy leader and I do want to hear.

Ms CHAPMAN: This bill, however, only deals with one small matter which has been the subject of discussions at the Council of Australian Governments last year. That was to advance the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme by providing automatic recognition and enforcement of domestic violence orders in any other state or territory.

Essentially, at present we have an electronic program known as CrimTrac, which is serviced by and the subject of work by the South Australia Police who register orders on it. Instead of the current procedure, which requires a person who might seek protection under an order (when the offending party might move interstate) to go through a process of having that recognised in another state by an application to the court, the initiative in this bill would enable the central database, known as CrimTrac, to receive that information as a South Australian order onto it, and it would have automatic recognition and therefore would be enforced in our sister and brother jurisdictions across the border.

It may assist only a few people a year from our state. Arguably, it will assist a few people from our neighbouring states if they were to come into our jurisdiction. It has minor significance to the extent of the number of people it might assist, but it is not insignificant in the value that it will have for those parties. The opposition will support this further initiative. At present, all commonwealth jurisdictions have similar laws that allow for orders to protect victims of domestic violence, and at present a DVO issued, as I said, in one jurisdiction can be registered and enforced. However, this process, as I say, obviates the need for a victim, or at least the beneficiary of a DVO order, to have this as an automatic procedure.

The automatic recognition of DVOs across Australia was developed by the National Domestic Violence Order Scheme working group and the model provisions bill was subsequently endorsed at the national level I think in December last year. Essentially, the agreed policy principles are:

1.A DVO made anywhere in Australia or New Zealand can be registered anywhere in Australia and is nationally recognised and enforceable;

2.A DVO that is nationally recognised can be amended in any jurisdiction, but only by a court;

3.If a DVO made in one jurisdiction is enforced a new order can, if necessary, be made in another jurisdiction, but only by a court; and

4.The last order in time will prevail.

One would hope that other jurisdictions are following the agreed terms. I was advised at the government briefing on 28 June that to date New South Wales is the only state that has passed laws to implement this; however, Tasmania and the ACT have, apparently, introduced their bills. Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are dragging the chain, it seems, but the Northern Territory is probably busy with the fact that they are having an election next month. I am not raising that as an excuse for them, but I make the point that we are not the first, but we are at least advancing it.

I understand that only SAPOL has been consulted on this matter. In this instance, I think, because this issue of recognition of other jurisdiction orders has been, in principle, both sought and expressed in a positive manner by other stakeholders who have to work with the women and children who are most predominantly the victims in these circumstances (some men, but predominantly women and children), this would be something that they will applaud and advance.

Most significantly, SAPOL is the party responsible for the registration process, making sure that the list is up to date, etc. They will enforce the obligations under this amendment and so, quite rightly, they are a significant stakeholder to be consulted. I think I read somewhere that it is expected that the funding necessary—and, of course, consequently the resources necessary to maintain this register and upload and update it—will be of negligible extra cost, so we are grateful that the government has agreed to advance it. I would say that on consultation with the Law Society, they have received the bill from us; they were not consulted but, nevertheless, we have not had any indication objecting to the same.

The most disappointing aspect of dealing with this legislation in the domestic violence arena is that it is the only thing before us. We have had a number of initiatives exposed by both the select committee in this parliament and their report several months ago and by other reviews that have been undertaken which clearly indicate that there are initiatives that are effective in other jurisdictions and need to be addressed. One of those initiatives is Clare's law, which allows a registration list for people, with new partners particularly, to check if there are people with a prior record. It is operating in England, it has obviously been reviewed and it is able to be assessed.

Yet, even though we had the Premier's announcement late last year that he would ensure that an issues paper would be prepared and that this matter could then be discussed amongst other initiatives and recommendations—such as the videoing of material and the availability of that to be evidence in relation to these cases, and these are all the types of initiatives which are, at first blush at least, good initiatives—what has happened here? We get a bill that deals with only this infinitesimal small amount of law reform, when clearly a select committee populated by members of both parties and, I think, one of the Independents in this house put up a number of ideas, yet we are still waiting for an issues paper, let alone a draft bill or bills, to advance reform in this area.

Secondly, a number of the recommendations that have come from the select committee could be initiated with a bit of extra money. In two days' time, we are going to have a state budget, but we still do not even have an issues paper. I find that very concerning, when we know that under our domestic violence circumstances at least one woman a week is being murdered by a spouse or former partner. Some would argue on the statistics that it is close to nearly two, so it is three per fortnight on a national scale. That ought to be alarming enough to alert governments to the problem and put a bomb under them to carry out some initiatives in this area.

We have coronial report after coronial report in respect of people who have had intervention orders, supposedly as part of the umbrella of protection for them. We have had a MAPS plan, which is a coordinated approach from different agencies in government to try to make sure that we are ever alert around families that are in a high-risk category. This select committee was very effective in going through and identifying where there were good programs that could be advanced, where there were good initiatives that could be followed and developed, yet we have had no action by the government in this space other than this tiny bill.

We are grateful for this morsel, but it is a crumb in the loaf of obligation that we have and opportunity that we have to help remedy this appalling social ill and blight on particularly the women and children of this state. They will have our support, but get on with that issues paper, get it out and let's get on with the real job of protecting women and children in this state.