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26 Jul 2016

Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) (Recognition of National Domestic Violence Orders) Amendment Bill

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 6 July 2016.)

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 17:10 ): I rise to speak to the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) (Recognition of National Domestic Violence Orders) Amendment Bill 2016. I speak on behalf of my Liberal colleagues. I indicate to the chamber that the Liberal opposition will be supporting the second reading of the bill.

The bill seeks to amend the Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009. Intervention orders are one method in which victims of domestic violence are able to seek protection. The orders made by police or by application to the court regulate an individual’s behaviour towards the protected person. Intervention orders are commonly sought to prevent domestic violence. They can also be used to prevent non-domestic abuse. An intervention order might, for example, prohibit an individual from communicating with a victim in any manner or from coming within a certain vicinity of a victim’s place of residence or work.

All commonwealth jurisdictions have similar laws regarding domestic violence orders; however, before an order can be recognised in another jurisdiction, it first needs to be registered. This requires that the victim apply to the relevant court of another jurisdiction. While this is purely an administrative requirement, it has been generally recognised that for victims this is an additional process that can cause them further stress, especially as it involves further engagement with the court system.

The primary purpose of this bill is to give effect to the South Australian component of a national recognition scheme for domestic violence orders. This bill derives from South Australia’s commitment to assist the development of a system for automatic recognition and enforcement of domestic and family violence orders in any jurisdiction across Australia. The bill incorporates model provisions which were developed in December 2015 by the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council and the Council of Australian Governments.

The bill, once passed, will enable the automatic recognition and enforcement of interstate domestic violence orders in South Australia. I note that automatic recognition will only relate to domestic violence, as opposed to personal violence. Some other provisions of the bill include providing safeguards against forum shopping by giving the court the power to decline to hear an application for variation or revocation of a recognised non-local DVO if satisfied that there has been no material change in the circumstances that give rise to the order; granting a court the power to refuse to hear an application of a defendant for variation or revocation if the defendant is not entitled to make such an application in the issuing jurisdiction; and provisions regarding the exchange of information between jurisdictions, recognising that the success of a national scheme relies on information sharing across borders.

The opposition has been advised that, to date, New South Wales is the only state to have passed their respective laws. Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have introduced bills. The government has advised the opposition that South Australia Police is the only stakeholder that has been consulted to date and that South Australia Police is the agency that will be responsible for uploading and updating the databases required. The Law Society has received the bill but has not made a submission.

We note that in late 2015 the government promised to conduct a review of domestic violence laws and policies, and we note that we are still awaiting the publication of its issues paper. Sadly, domestic violence is prevalent throughout all jurisdictions in Australia. This bill represents a measure that can be effective if used to address domestic violence. By recognising interstate domestic violence orders, I hope that we will be able to provide an increased level of protection to those who need it most. I commend the bill to the chamber.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. J.S. Lee .

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