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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2830..


MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services): Mr Speaker, on Mr Kaine's point: if he had listened to my speech when I tabled that document he would know that it was very clear that it was only going to go one of two ways and I asked PALM to be ready to cope with whatever came down in the report. They did so and we were able to table it quickly, because the government considers this matter to be urgent and wished to make sure that it was ready to move on with it.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services): Mr Hird has asked whether the committee can consider it. The answer is yes.

Criminal Code 2001

Debate resumed from 15 June 2001, on motion by Mr Stefaniak .

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (2.43 am): The Attorney-General introduced this bill on 15 June 2001. The scrutiny of bills committee made no adverse comment on the bill. The Attorney said during his presentation speech that this bill is the first step of a two-step process. This stage will establish the codification of the criminal law. The second step will be to review all the existing offences to ensure that they are drafted in accordance with the code. The second step potentially represents a significant commitment of future resources.

Mr Speaker, we are being asked by the Attorney to commit to this bill in an environment where it needs to be said that no other state and territory jurisdiction so far has done so. The ACT would be the first jurisdiction to commit to the uniform criminal code. To that extent we are following the Commonwealth's lead in this matter, as the attorney said. One of his reasons for us being first out of the blocks is that we have close ties to the Commonwealth. There are a large number of Commonwealth matters tried in our courts, and we share the Australian Federal Police. This could be said by all jurisdictions to some extent, I guess, but I note that no other jurisdiction has yet used these arguments.

Having said that, Mr Speaker, the Labor Party will support the bill. Criminal codes exist in various other jurisdictions, for example, Canada, India, and France and its former colonies. They have found that a code, like any other piece of legislation, may become complicated, illogical, and poorly organised, but the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General has been committed to introducing a code for a number of years.

The Commonwealth enacted provisions similar to those proposed for the ACT in 1995. The ACT provisions virtually follow the Commonwealth word for word except that this first stage of the ACT code does not include revisions for the age of criminal responsibility, the defence of intoxication, defences such as intervening conduct or events, sudden or extraordinary emergencies and self-defence, or attempt, conspiracy, and incitement offences. The Attorney says that these are already provided for in other statutes and will be included in later amendments to the code. There is no objection to the introduction of this part of the code, which does not apply to offences created


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