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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1126..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

The third amendment to the Bail Act creates a presumption against bail for people accused of committing a serious offence whilst on bail for a serious offence. A serious offence is defined as an offence punishable by imprisonment of five years or more. It covers offences such as sexual assault, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, robbery and burglary. People to whom the presumption applies will be entitled to bail only if special or exceptional circumstances exist justifying the granting of bail. The general considerations contained in the Bail Act, such as the need to consider the likelihood of the person absconding, reoffending or being a danger to the community, also will still apply.

Cases in which a defendant on bail has reoffended and again been granted bail understandably create considerable unease within the community. It is something that has greatly concerned the Australian Federal Police force, which has to rearrest these people. It is something that concerns their association, it is something that concerns judicial officers and it is something that concerns the community as a whole. It is appropriate to require there to be special or exceptional circumstances before such defendants are granted bail. The protection of the community should be given priority over the defendant's liberty in these cases, particularly when serious offences are involved. This amendment will achieve that. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Electoral Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Stefaniak , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (10.47): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I seek leave to have my presentation speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows:

OUTLINE

This Bill provides for a range of amendments to the Electoral Act 1992 and the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1994. The amendments address issues raised by the ACT Electoral Commission and others after the conduct of the 1998 ACT Legislative Assembly election.

The amendments include significant changes to:

� The party registration scheme;

� The requirements for disclosure of political donations, expenditure and debts;


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