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Michelle O’Byrne has demonstrated that she is not only incapable of understanding legal proceedings, she is also not above playing politics with a serious issue.

During Question Time this morning Ms O’Byrne asked a very vague question about a Victorian case before the High Court.

In any one year there can be hundreds of notices inviting the Tasmanian Attorney-General to intervene in a case before the High Court, in fact in the last financial year there were 150.

After seeking further advice, I was able to ascertain that Ms O’Byrne was likely referring to the matter of Clubb v Edwards.

The fact is that the case I can only assume was being referred to is being heard jointly with the Preston v Avery matter which is an action to which Tasmania is a party (and does not require intervention).

If Ms O’Byrne had bothered to look at the High Court website she would have known this.

Ms O’Byrne was being deliberately misleading and vague: the entire question was based on vagaries and a false premise, there was no case name and she referred to Victorian law.

Question Time Tip: If you want a clear answer, ask a clear question.

Elise Archer, Attorney-General

 

 

 

Today I tabled Tasmania’s initial response to the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Royal Commission’s Final Report contained a total of 409 recommendations contained in 17 volumes covering a broad range of areas, including previous recommendations of the Commission.

Importantly, many of the recommendations are consistent with reforms already underway across the Tasmanian Government, including: 

• Strong Families, Safe Kids;

• the related Out of Home Care Foundations project;

• actions under the Strategic Plan for Out of Home Care in Tasmania 2017-2019 and the Youth at Risk strategy;

• the continued roll out of Tasmania’s Registration to Work with Vulnerable People Scheme;

• amendments to Tasmania’s Limitation Act to allow victims of historical sexual abuse to take legal action against perpetrators of their abuse;

• the introduction of statutory aggravating factors for crimes of serious sexual abuse; and

• the removal of good character as a mitigating factor for perpetrators of sexual abuse when that good character facilitated their offending.

Tasmania will be one of a number of jurisdictions in taking the lead in accepting-in-principle the need to include priests as mandatory reporters, and importantly to lift the veil from the confessional for the purpose of such reporting.

The Royal Commission’s recommendations will provide for national consistency as to whom these laws apply.

The Tasmanian Government also accepts-in-principle the need for a specific criminal offence for the failure to report child sexual abuse and criminalising such behaviour.

Consistent with the need to put children first, the Government also accepts in principle the Child Safe Standards recommended by the Royal Commission.

These standards will see child safety embedded in the leadership, governance and culture of institutions, and allow children to participate in decisions affecting them.

In addition to the reforms already underway, I will also be tabling legislation this year that will strengthen Tasmania’s legal responses to child sexual abuse.

This will include amendments to the Evidence (Children and Special Witnesses) Act to improve the use of pre-recordings for vulnerable witnesses, the broadening of the operation of grooming offences under the Criminal Code, as well as measures to improve the operation of the crime of persistent child abuse.

The Hodgman Liberal Government will continue its unwavering support of Tasmania’s most vulnerable and we do not shy away from the fact that there is still a lot of work to be done. We will continue to pursue change to help and protect those Tasmanians that need it most.

The Government’s response is available online at: https://www.justice.tas.gov.au/response-to-final-report.

Elise Archer, Attorney-General

 

 

 The Hodgman Liberal Government congratulates Tassal on its commitment to recycle 100 per cent of its major plastic waste.

We also welcome the expansion of Envorinex, which is expanding its business to include the recycling of soft plastics in addition to rigid plastics produced by industry within the State.

This is a great example of Tasmanian-owned businesses investing in innovative solutions and working together for resource efficiency, waste minimisation and environmental sustainability.

The Tasmanian Government recognises that we need to work together to tackle issues of waste and recycling, covering both industrial and domestic waste sources.

That’s why we are currently in discussions with Local Government and our national counterparts, regarding the need to expand and develop our recycling industry, grow our domestic capabilities and increase the demand for recycled products, as we work towards a target of 100 per cent of Australian packaging being recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2025.

Elise Archer, Minister for Environment

 

 

 

 

Today, I tabled the Justices of the Peace Bill 2018. The Bill aims to contemporise the framework for Tasmanian Justices of the Peace, who do excellent, invaluable work in our communities. 

The Bill addresses the current limitations of the Justices Act 1959, with a new and more comprehensive framework for the appointment and regulation of the conduct of Justices of the Peace in Tasmania.

The Legislation will increase the transparency of the process of appointing Justices of the Peace, and the processes around resignation, retirement, suspension and removal from office.

Justices of the Peace serve the community, and occupy a position of trust and responsibility.  It is important that they have a modern legislative framework underpinning them. 

Elise Archer, Minister for Justice

 

 

 

The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to keeping Tasmanians safe, protecting vulnerable people and victims of crime, and ensuring our laws reflect the community’s expectations. 

Today, I was pleased to table the Corrections (Prisoner Remission) Amendment Bill that will deliver on our re-commitment to abolish the outdated practice of granting prison remission. 

Remission of prison sentences (early release from prison) has remained a long-standing practice in Tasmania despite being phased out in all other Australian states and territories in the last 20 years.

The Tasmanian Government is concerned that the outdated practice of remission allows prisoners to be released up to three months before the release date handed down by the Court and we strongly believe that not only is this practice not in line with community expectations, but it does not align with the importance of truth in sentencing.

The Hodgman Liberal Government has also invested significantly in the Tasmania Prison Service and Justice System since coming to office.

This includes:

• recruiting correctional staff at an exponential rate. Since May 2016 the TPS has recruited 78 new Correctional Officers. This includes 18 officers who graduated in December 2017, and a further 23 who graduated on the 27th April this year;

• we have also invested substantially in prison infrastructure with 81 beds anticipated to come online this year; and

• we have also committed to a new, $70 million remand facility in the South, and a new prison in the North.

The Hodgman Liberal Government supports a safer Tasmania and will continue to deliver on these commitments.

 

Elise Archer, Minister for Corrections

 

 

 

The Government is today calling for public submissions as part of our review into the Electoral Act and associated election laws.

This is the start of an extensive community and stakeholder consultation process to give every Tasmanian, political parties, and organisations a chance to have their say.

The review, which was announced last month, is a responsible action following a state election and will ensure our democratic processes are contemporary and in line with changing community expectations.

The review will be guided by two governing principles: protecting freedom of speech, with note to Constitutional implications, and minimal cost to the taxpayer.

The terms of reference for the review are:

• Modernising the current Tasmanian Electoral Act, with specific examination of sections including 191(1)(b); 196(1) and 198(1)(b); 

• Whether state-based disclosure rules should be introduced and, if so, what they should include; and  

• The level of regulation of third parties, including unions, during election campaigns.

 Public submissions are invited until July 20. Targeted stakeholder consultation will also be undertaken.

An interim report is expected by the end of this year and a final report is expected in 12 months.

I encourage all Tasmanians to have their say via: https://www.justice.tas.gov.au

Elise Archer, Attorney-General

 

 

 
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