Statutes Amendment (Attorney-General's Portfolio No 3) Bill

Ms CHAPMAN:  I move:

That it be an instruction to the committee of the whole of the house, on the Statutes Amendment (Attorney-General's Portfolio No 3) Bill, that it have power to consider new clauses relating to the amendment of the Magistrates Court Act 1991 and the Remuneration Act 1990.

Motion carried.

New clauses 14A, 14B, 14C, 14D, 14E and 14F.

Ms CHAPMAN:  My understanding is that these amendments deal with the amendments to the Spent Convictions Act 2009. In short, can I say that the opposition's view is that, if it is the intention of the government and the effect of these amendments (knowing that they have been redone) to allow for an exemption where it may be necessary to take into account the prior record of an employee or prospective employee in relation to the fitness and character test relating to the care of children and vulnerable adults, we agree.

The effect of the amendments being much broader than that—and I know this was originally foreshadowed by the Law Society on the draft Statutes Amendment (Attorney-General's Portfolio) (No 2) Bill—was one of the concerns that they raised. Similarly, we would have that concern. I was sent a copy of some draft regulations late last week, but I cannot see that they specifically deal with that because I have not had an opportunity to go back to the current regulations.

If it is the case that the spent conviction clauses that are designed, as I say, to broaden the exemptions to enable spent convictions to be taken into account do go beyond that general objective then we may need to look at it in another place. It seems, on the commentary in the letter that has been recently provided, that the government has now moved to public safety as a basis upon which they might want to terminate someone's employment or not employ them, and that is a little bit broader.

With those few words, I will not be objecting to the amendments as they currently stand. Reading between the lines, there has been some attempt to firstly deal with an anomaly of taking into account the difference between some cases where there has been an immediate spent conviction and where there have been other circumstances of a finding of fact without conviction. In any event, we will work through that, and I am sure we can come to some sensible resolution.