You are here

Victims of Crime Assistance Amendment Bill 2023

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 28 September 2023

Tags: Legislation, Justice

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I might be quite brief and perhaps we will be able to finish this up. 

Ms Archer - If you could, we could get it done. 

Dr WOODRUFF - I want to make a contribution on behalf of the Greens in relation to this Victims of Crime Assistance Amendment Bill, and to note that some of the things that are before us did start back in conversations that I had on behalf of the Greens with Ms Archer in the Estimates process of 2020. 

Ms Archer - You did.  I was going to acknowledge that in my summing up. 

Dr WOODRUFF - Thank you.  I thank Ms Archer for her willingness to look into the issues to do with victims of crime:  the lack of sufficient compensation, the problems with multiple victims attendant in an event and the injustice in where we were.  I do not consider that we have gone as far as we could, but I recognise that the Attorney-General has been willing to show regard to the issues that we have raised.  I thank her for the way she has worked with us in this matter. 

I do not have much contribution because the Attorney-General has been clear in the reasons for this bill before us.  It is an award of compensation that must be at a rate consistent with the requirements of the act at the time a claim was lodged.  The issue relates to section 5(2) of the Acts Interpretation Act.  This act requires a reference to an act to be construed to also be a reference of any regulation, rule or by-law made under the act.  As it stands, the Acts Interpretation Act would require that an application lodged before the 2021 regulation, but determined afterwards, would have to be paid out at the rate set before that by-law passed.  This clearly contravenes the intention of the regulation. 

This is quite a small, but important, law change.  The Attorney-General outlined why she believes that this legislation is not, strictly speaking, needed.  Section 4(1) of the Acts Interpretation Act does, fortunately, set out that provisions in the Acts Interpretation Act do not apply if such an interpretation would be 'inconsistent with, or repugnant to, the true intent and object of the particular Act or regulation to be interpreted'.  In other words, it could be interpreted through the Acts Interpretation Act that we do not need this amendment bill before us.  However, for the matter of clarity we have this before us.   

The Greens support this bill.  It is a small but meaningful change to victims of crime.