Courts Legislation Amendment Bill
The Hon. EDDIE OBEID (Minister for Mineral Resources, and Minister for Fisheries) [5.59 p.m.]: I move:
That this bill be now read a second time.
I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.
The Government seeks to amend certain Acts relating to the courts and court procedures.
The first proposal in schedule 1 of the bill amends section 2 (a) of the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967 to provide that a cost certificate may be granted, in certain circumstances, where the Director of Public Prosecution directs no further proceedings.
The Director of Public Prosecutions may make no further proceedings directions and decisions to offer no evidence for a number of reasons including public interest discretionary grounds. To meet the defendant's legal costs in all of these cases out of public funds would be inappropriate. However, where the trial or hearing has commenced and the DPP directs there be no further proceedings, it may be appropriate that a costs certificate be granted.
It is also proposed to amend section 3A of the Act to allow for further relevant facts to be established by the prosecution on the application for a costs certificate, where those facts were available to the prosecution at the time of the decision to institute the prosecution was made and were not able to be adduced in the proceedings.
Schedule 2 of the bill amends sections 13 & 18 of the District Court Act 1973 to allow for the appointment of judges from other States as judges and acting judges of the District Court where an appropriate need arises.
Schedule 3 of the bill amends section 2 of the Judges' Pensions Act 1953 to include the Chief Judge of the Land and Environment Court within the definition of "judge".
This is to correct an oversight at the time the judges of the Land and Environment Court were included in the definition of "judge" in the Act.
Schedule 4 of the bill amends section 68 of the Jury Act 1977 to permit disclosure of jurors' particulars and information on the deliberation of juries by the Sheriff to a court or proper investigating authority.
In 1996 the Standing Committee of Attorney's-General (SCAG) agreed in principle to adopt the provisions contained in an Australian Capital Territory draft Juries Bill as a minimum standard for the protection of jury deliberations and to prevent the disclosure of the identity of jurors. The draft bill also provided for exemptions to disclosure where the disclosure was made to a court, royal commission or board of inquiry, the Director of Public Prosecutions or a police officer investigating an alleged contempt of court or alleged offence relating to jury deliberations.
It is therefore proposed to amend section 68 of the Jury Act to permit disclosure of jurors' particulars and information on the deliberation of juries to a court or proper investigating authority in similar terms to the model legislation agreed to by SCAG.
Schedule 5 of the bill amends various provisions of the Justices Act 1902 relating to committals proceedings.
In March 1999 the NSW Attorney General established the Committal Review Committee to monitor the effects of amendments to committal proceedings. The Committee concluded that the scheme was functioning as intended by the Act but recommended some technical amendments. Further amendments were also proposed by the Chief Magistrate, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Legal Aid Commission.
i. Amendment of section 48E Justices Act
Section 48E of the Justices Act provides that a magistrate may direct a witness to attend for examination if there are "special" or "substantial reasons why, in the interests of justice the witness should attend to give oral evidence." It is proposed to amend s 48E to also provide for a witness to be examined by consent.
ii. Repeal of section 41(1B)(d)(ii) Justices Act
Section 41 (1B) (d) of the Justices Act provides for a committal hearing where the defendant fails to appear and allows the prosecution to adduce evidence in the absence of the defendant if no good or proper reason is shown for the absence of the defendant, and a warrant for the apprehension of the defendant is issued.
Apart from serving no useful purpose, there is a danger with this procedure that the first instance warrant may be inadvertently circulated resulting in the defendant being apprehended and brought before a Local Court when the matter has already been committed to the District Court. It is therefore proposed to repeal section 41 (1B) (d) (ii).
iii. Amendment of section 48E(6) Justices Act
The combined effect of sections 48E (5) and 48E (6) of the Justices Act 1902 is to make the statement of a prosecution witness in respect of whom a section 48E order has been made, inadmissible in circumstances where the defendant fails to attend the committal hearing. The proposed amendments will allow the Magistrate to withdraw a section 48E direction in circumstances where the defendant does not appear.
iv. Amendment of section 41 (11) Justices Act
In order to commit a defendant for trial or sentence, a magistrate must be satisfied that there is a case to answer, which often involves the magistrate reading a lengthy brief of evidence. This process is appropriate where the accused is unrepresented or there has been a defended committal hearing. However, in cases where the accused is represented and both the DPP and the legal representative for the accused agree that the matter should be committed for trial or sentence it is appropriate for the matter to be committed by consent. It is therefore proposed to amend section 41 of the Justices Act 1902 accordingly.
Schedule 5 of the bill also amends section 123 of the Justices Act 1902 to remove the requirement for an appellant to seek leave of the District Court to appeal where the appellant has not made an application under section 100G of the Act.
The intervention of the Attorney has traditionally been an option for review open to persons who do not have any right of review in a court. It is considered inappropriate to require parties to use the section 100G remedy before exhausting their right of appeal to the District Court.
Schedule 5 of bill also repeals section 100P of the Justices Act 1902 which prohibits a person from lodging an application for annulment to a Local Court under section 100D of the Act or an application under section 100G to the Minister for referral back to a Local Court if an appeal or an application for leave to appeal has been made to a higher court. The prohibition also applies to people who have withdrawn their appeal or whose applications for leave have been refused.
Schedule 5 of the bill also amends section 120 of the Justices Act 1902 to clarify that appeals to the District Court may only be made after a matter has been finalised in the Local Court and to provide the Crown with a right to appeal against cost orders made at the conclusion of committal proceedings.
Section 120 of the Justices Act 1902 does not allow the Crown to appeal against a costs order made after a committal hearing in the Local Court. The failure to allow for such an appeal appears to be an oversight that is to be corrected.
Schedule 6 of the bill amends section 199 of the Legal Profession Act 1987 to apply the costs assessment scheme to costs paid by third parties in mortgage and lease transactions. The proposed amendment will provide an appropriate means of ensuring that third parties in mortgage and lease transactions are charged fair and reasonable legal fees.
Schedule 6 amends section 208 of the Legal Profession Act 1987 to allow the court to exercise a discretion to refer an appeal to 'the proper officer' for assignment to a review panel where a review has not been undertaken.
Schedule 6 also amends section 199 of the Legal Profession Act 1987 to remove the term 'proper officer of the Supreme Court' from the Act and to replace it with the phrase 'Manager, Costs Assessment'. This title more accurately reflects the role and functions of the office.
Schedule 7 of the bill amends section 59 (1) of the Local Court (Civil Claims) Act 1970 to expand, in certain circumstances, the nature and value of personal property which a judgment debtor would be entitled to retain when a writ is executed by the Sheriff. The personal property contemplated are tools of trade, plant and equipment, professional instruments and reference books to bring it in line with bankruptcy legislation. The amount prescribed by the Bankruptcy Rules for similar items is $2000. This will ensure that debtors can retain sufficient tools of trade to enable them continue in employment in order to pay their debts.
Secondly, where the goods to be seized are of so little value that the cost of the sale, storage and removal of the goods is likely to exceed the amount to be recovered, that property will be excluded from seizure—again in line with bankruptcy legislation.
Schedule 8 of the bill amends section 84 of the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996, to strengthen the protection given to crime victims' compensation and approved counselling files—prohibiting applications for victims compensation and supporting documents from production for use in any criminal proceedings, other than proceedings in which the applicant is the accused.
It is considered appropriate to amend section 84 of the Act to clarify that the section applies to any documents held by the VCT in relation to applications for statutory compensation and approved counselling.
All of the amendments contained in this bill will improve the operation of the courts of New South Wales and I commend the bill to the House.
The Hon. JAMES SAMIOS [6.00 p.m.]: The purpose of the Courts Legislation Amendment Bill is to make a number of amendments to legislation regarding courts and court procedures. The bill will amend the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967 to provide that a cost certificate may be granted in certain circumstances when the Director of Public Prosecutions decides not to continue a prosecution. The bill amends the District Court Act 1973 to allow judges or former judges from other States or Territories to be appointed as judges or acting judges in New South Wales. The Attorney General has not indicated the circumstances in which judges from other States or Territories would be appointed as judges or acting judges in New South Wales but, for instance, if a New South Wales judge were being investigated there would be merit in bringing in a judge from outside the State to deal with the case. The bill amends the Judges' Pensions Act 1953 to ensure that Land and Environment Court judges are included in the definition of "judge" under the Act. I understand from what was said in the other place that the amendment has been necessary because of an oversight relating to the payment of pensions.
The Jury Act 1977 will be amended to permit courts and certain law enforcement agencies to obtain information from jurors and former jurors when they are investigating a contempt of court or an offence relating to jurors or juries. The Coalition will decide whether to support the foreshadowed Australian Democrats amendment when it has had time to consider it. The bill makes a number of amendments to the Justices Act 1902 relating to committal proceedings and appeals. The amendments are in response to recommendations from the Criminal Review Committee established by the Attorney General in March 1999, and are largely technical in nature. The bill amends the Legal Profession Act 1987 to provide that the proper officer of the Supreme Court in relation to a cost assessment matter is the Manager, Costs Assessment in the Attorney General's Department. The bill also makes amendments relating to costs assessment procedures. The bill amends the Local Courts (Civil Claims) Act 1970.
Schedule 7 contains an amendment to expand from $500 to $2,000 the value of personal property, tools of trade and equipment that a debtor is entitled to keep when a writ is executed by the sheriff. The shadow Attorney General in another place indicated that a Coalition government may wish to reconsider this change because it could make it unreasonably difficult for a creditor to obtain full satisfaction for a judgment he has obtained. There are other amendments relating to seizure of goods by a sheriff or bailiff. The bill amends the Victims Support and Rehabilitation Act 1996 in relation to the admission and use of certain documents relating to compensation and approved counselling services under the Act. The amendments are largely housekeeping amendments of an administrative or technical nature. The Law Society has been consulted by the Coalition in relation to the amendments to the Acts. The Coalition does not oppose the bill.
Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [6.05 p.m.]: The Christian Democratic Party supports the Courts Legislation Amendment Bill. One of the objects of the bill is to amend the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967 to provide that a cost certificate may be granted under that Act in cases where, after a trial has commenced, a defendant has been acquitted or discharged. Also, a prosecutor may adduce additional evidence to the judge, the court or justices for the purposes of determining whether to grant a cost certificate, being evidence that was in the possession of the prosecutor at the time the decision to institute criminal proceedings was made and that was not produced in the proceedings. We support other minor amendments in the bill for the greater efficiency of our judicial system.
The Hon. IAN COHEN [6.06 p.m.]: The Greens support the Courts Legislation Amendment Bill. The bill makes minor amendments to a variety of Acts, including Acts that deal with the District Court, juries, judges, judges' pensions, costs in criminal cases, the Local Court, the legal profession, and victims' support and rehabilitation. I will deal with just a few of the amendments. Schedule 7 to the bill is supported by the Greens. Section 59 of the Local Courts (Civil Claims) Act sets out the property that can be seized from a person under a writ of execution. A writ of execution comes into play if the person has outstanding debts and there has been an approach to the Local Court to recover some or all of the debt. Section 59 is very specific.
All goods, chattels and other personal property—other than real chattels—can be seized, except a person's clothes and any bedroom and kitchen furniture, and any ordinary tools of trade, plant, equipment and professional instruments and books to the value of $500. This section is very discriminatory against tradespersons, who often have thousands of dollars tied up in their tools of trade. Tradespeople need their tools to gain employment and, in the case of debts, need their tools to help them get out of debt. The Government is increasing the minimum value from $500 to $2,000. The Greens believe this figure should be higher but we acknowledge that $2,000 is substantially higher than $500. The amount of $2,000 worth of equipment would be a fraction of the amount needed to undertake some trades.
Another amendment is to ensure that if, in the sheriff's opinion, the cost of seizing, removing, storing and selling property under a writ of execution is likely to exceed the total sale price of the property the sheriff can decline to execute that writ. That is important. For example, a person may owe $3,000 and own a $100 television, a beat-up old fridge and a large old couch. That is it. These are large items. They would be costly to remove and store and may be worth virtually nothing when sold. It is pointless to deprive an already broke person of his or her last worldly possessions when seizing them will do nothing to pay off the debt and it will cost money to have them removed. It achieves nothing. I hope the Government will take into account some of the comments and criticisms of the bill. The Greens do not oppose the bill.
The Hon. PETER BREEN [6.09 p.m.]: This bill covers a number of aspects of courts administration. I am particularly interested in those provisions that deal with the question of legal costs. The bill amends the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967 to broaden the category of defendants eligible to be granted a certificate for the payment of costs to include defendants who are acquitted or discharged after a trial. I applaud the Government for recognising that some people who go to trial are innocent, and when they finally establish their innocence the potential financial cost can be astronomical. Perhaps my only reservation about the provision is the rider that the prosecutor may adduce additional evidence that was not tested in the trial for the purposes of deciding whether a cost certificate should be granted.
That reservation is reduced by a further provision that allows the person who is acquitted or discharged to comment on the evidence and, with the leave the court, examine any witness giving evidence for the prosecution. This is a necessary safeguard and achieves a certain level of protection so far as it goes. The safeguard is open to abuse, however, and it is not difficult to imagine a dejected prosecutor, having just lost his or her case, placing all sorts of obstacles in front of the defendant who is hoping to secure a costs certificate. I can foresee a particularly unhappy prosecutor trotting out every piece of evidence in the case in an attempt to justify prosecution of the allegations. In such circumstances a question would arise as to whether the prosecutor was merely opposing the application for a costs certificate or was seeking to justify the prosecution. No clear boundaries are set out in the bill and I hope the good intentions of the bill are not defeated by a zealous prosecutor who takes issue with the discharge or acquittal of a defendant.
Another costs issue in the bill relates to an amendment to the Legal Profession Act to provide for the Manager, Costs Assessment in the Attorney General's Department to be the proper officer of the Supreme Court in relation to costs assessment matters. That provision is simply about giving the proper officer of the Supreme Court a job description, but I would like to say something about the job itself. The relevant officer is a bit like Santa Claus, handing out presents to lawyers, while law consumers questioning their lawyers' bills are often regarded as angry punters trying to spoil Christmas. People become angry when they find themselves embroiled in the Supreme Court costs assessment scheme because it is so patently unfair. Costs assessors are lawyers and they look at lawyers' bills through lawyers' eyes. Law consumers often have quite a different perspective from lawyers. I ask honourable members to take the case of Wayne Lawrence, for example, who has been battling with the costs assessment scheme for years over the patently false bill of a solicitor whom I have previously identified in this House. Last month Mr Lawrence received a letter from the Attorney General seeking to justify the costs assessment scheme. The letter stated:
Mr Lawrence says that the system is neither simple nor cheap, and the facts of his case demonstrate that quite clearly. He also pointed out that suing a lawyer for negligence is frequently a waste of time, as there is no independent assessment of the case. Each year the Legal Services Commissioner turns away hundreds of law consumers, because he has no power to investigate negligence. The only place that a law consumer can go is the Law Society, which just happens to run LawCover, the professional indemnity insurance scheme for lawyers. That is a serious conflict of interest for the Law Society, and I spoke about it in this House during debate on the Legal Profession Indemnity (Professional Indemnity Insurance) Bill earlier this year. The Courts Legislation Amendment Bill provides a job description for the person in charge of the costs assessment scheme, but it merely tinkers at the edges of a much bigger problem. The review of the scheme of assessing legal costs is long overdue.
The system of costs assessment was intended to introduce a simple, cheap and accessible means of scrutinising the costs of solicitors and barristers. The system was intended to do away with the need for formal arguments to be made by clients or their legal representatives about costs, and to introduce instead speedy, informal processes.
The Legal Services Commissioner says that disputes about legal costs represent the majority of complaints to his office. Lawyers have all the power and control in deciding the basis on which costs are to be paid and the costs assessment scheme is inherently biased against law consumers. I am reminded of the celebrated case of a solicitor, Cedric Symonds, in which a judge ruled that Mr Symonds' fees were manifestly unjust, but three judges on appeal decided that because the unjust arrangement was made in writing the client should pay. Honourable members may be interested to know that in that case the client was a woman who was involved in a Family Court property dispute with her husband. She went to the Law Society for a reference to a solicitor with family law skills. The Law Society gave her three names, including that of Cedric Symonds, and the woman prayed for guidance as to which one she should choose. Mr Symonds received the divine nod and set about drawing up a costs agreement that included photocopying at $12 per page. At the end of the dispute the woman was awarded property valued at $681,000. Unbelievably, her legal bill was $456,000. As Richard Ackland wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, "God works in mysterious ways".
With respect to the costs assessment scheme under the Legal Profession Act and this bill, I am pleased that the relevant provision will enable lessees and mortgagors who have been given a solicitor's bill by the landlord or lender to apply for a review of those costs. However, as a practical matter I wonder how many people will begin a relationship with their landlord or mortgagor on the sour note of a fight over a solicitor's bill. It would be a brave tenant or borrower who takes that course. I have not addressed other aspects of the Courts Legislation Amendment Bill that are unrelated to legal costs. However, I urge the Government to consider the possibility of a review of legal costs. Just this week the Attorney General released a discussion paper on the conduct and discipline of the legal profession. It is a wide-ranging paper and the issues could include the legal costs regime. I urge the Government to undertake, in particular, a review of the Supreme Court costs assessment scheme. I commend the bill to the House.
The Hon. Dr ARTHUR CHESTERFIELD-EVANS [6.16 p.m.]: The Courts Legislation Amendment Bill amends a total of eight Acts covering the administration of the justice system in New South Wales. A substantial part of the bill deals with amendments of an administrative nature, and a number of sections are worthy of note. Schedule 2 amends the District Court Act 1973, and new subsections (1) and (2) of section 13 insert new and more specified selection criteria for judges in the District Court. A person who has been a judge in a higher court or a court of the same hierarchy level in another jurisdiction may be appointed as a judge or an acting judge under this amendment. Schedule 4 amends the Jury Act 1977 to allow the sheriff to disclose the contact details of a juror, or former juror, to statutory crime investigation agencies gathering evidence for another case. The same agencies will also be able to contact and interview jurors or former jurors for the purpose of their investigations. Similar provisions exist under section 42C of the Australian Capital Territory Jury Act 1967.
The Australian Democrats are concerned about the privacy implications of the proposed amendments. It is a worthy of note that this section has a wider application for courts and several crime agencies. Under new section 68 (4) (i) any other person or body prescribed for the purposes of that subsection may utilise that power for their investigations. The amendment also has a retrospective component under which former jurors on cases heard and determined before the commencement of the Act may be approached by crime agencies. My office approached the Office of the Privacy Commissioner about this provision of the bill. The Privacy Commissioner, Chris Puplick, responded by letter dated 9 November. The letter stated:
The proposed amendments can be seen to depart from the original justification for jury secrecy arising from prominent English civil rights cases in the eighteenth century. The protection of juries and jury deliberations was seen as necessary to protect juries from being tampered with by politicians or the Crown for political purposes. Nowadays jury secrecy is more likely to be seen to promote a general interest in jury impartiality. Concern about jury tampering is more likely to arise in relation to corruption or intimidation by organised crime or threats by relatives or friends of an accused. Nevertheless it would be inadvisable to dismiss entirely the original risk of political, or in a contemporary setting, law enforcement pressure on juries. This leads me to question whether the proposed amendments adequately safeguard juries against such pressures.
The issue I have posed might more properly be seen as a general issue of civil and legal rights rather than a specific privacy issue. However the effect of secrecy provisions is to deliver certain privacy expectations, ie that the names and addresses of jurors will not be disclosed. It needs to be recognised that conferring a right to privacy in a particular context can promote broader social values. The creation of a zone of secrecy around jury deliberations also gives jurors certain expectations as to their privacy, particularly having regard to the retrospective effect of the proposed amendments. Such an expectation does not amount to an absolute right—privacy frequently has to be balanced against competing social interests—but it is legitimate to seek to minimise the effects of any justified incursion into personal privacy.
In this light I would like to raise the following concerns in relation to the current bill. I consider that these concerns could be avoided by appropriate amendment to the bill.
The bill makes no distinction between intervention during the course of a trial and subsequent to its completion. When combined with a range of agencies with different reasons for monitoring or approaching jurors this tends to broaden the scope of potential departures from jury secrecy.
Proposed section 68A provides no obvious protection against, and could be seen to shield, inappropriate approaches to jurors during the course of a trial by parties with a direct involvement and interest in the outcome of the trial—police and public prosecutors. Police or prosecutors may well be the appropriate agencies to respond to allegations of intimidation or subornation which arise in the course of a trial and I would not wish to preclude them from doing so.
Conversely it is questionable whether investigative bodies such as the Police Integrity Commission or the Independent Commission Against Corruption whose role is more limited to misconduct by police or public sector officials arising out of a trial, need to be able to identify or approach jurors during the course of a trial.
The Democrats' amendments address the matter. I understand that the Government and the Opposition support our amendments. Schedule 5 amends the Justices Act 1902. Under that schedule a magistrate may allow a committal hearing to commence or continue in the absence of a defendant if no good or proper reason has been given for the absence. Mr John McKenzie of the Many Rivers Aboriginal Legal Service sent an email to my office in which he stated:
Inappropriate approaches could be minimised by more carefully defining the purposes for which specific agencies can intervene in different contexts and at different times.
An offence relating to a juror is not obviously limited to offences arising in the course of jury deliberations. It could for example relate to an admission of an unrelated offence by a juror to other jurors in the jury room. This could be seen as going too far to inhibit jury deliberations than is justified by the dangers the amendment is intended to address.
The ability to prescribe by regulation other bodies with the power to intervene appears to minimise the critical nature of the departure from an accepted civil liberties position. Any extension of the proposed powers should be by legislation.
In conclusion, while not opposing the intention of the proposed amendment, I recognise that the way it is implemented does have the privacy (and broader civil liberties) implications which might have been more carefully addressed.
I ask the Minister whether this will be the case and I seek an assurance that he will refer this matter to the Committal Review Committee for future discussion. With that caveat from the Aboriginal legal service, the Australian Democrats support the bill. I will move my foreshadowed amendments in Committee.
It is often the case that a defendant is absent due to good reasons, but those reasons are not before the court at the time of the hearing (usually because some misadventure out of the defendant's control has happened and the defendant is unable to contact the court to advise). In summary hearings there are the fall back provisions under section 100 of the Justices Act to allow a process of review and re-hearing where good reasons subsequently come to light. I do not believe there are any such fall back provisions in relation to committal hearings. Accordingly, such a defendant would be denied a chance to properly test the case against them prior to the trial before a judge and jury.
Whilst I can appreciate the intention to not allow a committal hearing to be indefinitely delayed by the absence of the defendant, the fact remains that the trial cannot proceed in the absence of the defendant, so there is no real advantage for the system anyway. The proposed change will result in more cases being committed for trial to the District Court than should be the case, creating significant additional cost to the criminal justice system.
If the proposed change is to proceed, it should be accompanied by an explicit provision allowing review and re-hearing by the Local Court under section 100 of the Justices Act.
The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS [6.22 p.m.]: I thank all honourable members for their contributions to the debate. I commend the bill to the House.
Motion agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.
Schedules 1 to 3 agreed to.
The Hon. Dr ARTHUR CHESTERFIELD-EVANS [6.24 p.m.], by leave: I move Australian Democrats amendments Nos 2, 3 and 5 in globo. I advise the Committee that I will not move amendments Nos 1 and 4 as circulated in my name. Accordingly, I move:
No. 2 Page 8, schedule 4 , proposed section 68 (4) (i), lines 17 and 18. Omit all the words on those lines.
No. 3 Page 8, schedule 4 , proposed section 68 (5). Insert after line 18:
(5) Subsection (1) does not apply to the disclosure of information by the sheriff to a person in accordance with an authority granted by the Attorney General for the conduct of a research project into matters relating to juries or jurors.
No. 5 Page 9, schedule 4 , proposed section 68A (4) (i), lines 7 and 8. Omit all the words on those lines.
The Democrats share the concern of the Privacy Commissioner about the somewhat unlimited application of this measure. The ability to prescribe by regulation to other nondescript bodies the power to intervene, which may disclose the details of jurors on current and past juries, is a departure from the secrecy provisions that have been the cornerstone of the adversarial and legal systems. The alternative to that disclosure is to simply give it to groups that are involved in research projects into matters relating to juries or jurors so that access to juries can be used in a proper manner to improve court processes and, as such, amendment No. 3 specifies that group. Amendments Nos 2 and 5 take away the broader ability to disclose the identity of jurors to a large number of people. This is a sensible compromise with respect to privacy. I seek support from the Government and the Opposition for my amendments, which I understand will be forthcoming.
The Hon. JOHN HATZISTERGOS [6.26 p.m.]: The Government supports the amendments.
The Hon. JAMES SAMIOS [6.26 p.m.]: The Opposition supports the amendments.
Amendments agreed to.
Schedule 4 as amended agreed to.
Schedules 5 to 8 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported from Committee with amendments and passed through remaining stages.