Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (2 March) . . Page.. 566..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
release, murderers and other serious criminals who have got off can now be fingered as having committed the crime, as a result of advances in technology. Why on earth should they not be prosecuted again?
Why should not a person, where they are acquitted due to an error made by a judge, not be tried again? That is not even double jeopardy; that is part of the process where there is an error made and that person is acquitted. Currently, unlike in other states, the prosecution cannot apply to have the person tried again. In fact, I have a bill on the table in relation to that. I would suggest that clause 24 is not necessarily in the interests of justice and that many victims in society will be hurt as a result of this clause.
Finally, Mr Stanhope deals with the rights of minorities. That is fine but he does not say anything at all about people generally. Why are we just dealing with minorities? Why should it not just read that anyone who belongs to an ethnic, religious or linguistic group should not be denied the right to enjoy their culture? Why does he stipulate minorities? I believe this is a real problem with this bill. I thought human rights were meant to be about everyone-protecting groups, whether they are minority groups or majority groups. This gets back to the point Bob Carr and other people who oppose this bill have made so effectively-that if you place over-emphasis on the rights of certain sections of society, invariably, in a sophisticated society like Australia and the ACT you will be taking rights away from a lot of other people. It is just commonsense-it happens like that. There are some potential problems there too.
Clauses 13 to 27 agreed to.
Suspension of standing order 76
Motion (by Mr Wood ) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.
That standing order 76 be suspended for the remainder of the sitting.
Clauses 28 and 29, by leave, taken together.
MR STEFANIAK (10.45): The Chief Minister earlier made mention of clause 28. My colleague, Mr Smyth-I am not going to repeat what he said-made eloquent comments just before the dinner adjournment, in relation to the separation of powers and the comments made by many learned justices over the years in relation to that issue. At pages 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 of the scrutiny report, much is said in relation to clause 28. In clause 28 there are significant problems which jump out at you. It says:
Human rights may be subject only to reasonable limits set by Territory laws that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
How on earth are "reasonable limits"going to be established? In talking about the parameters, what is meant? Where are the limits? How are our poor Supreme Court judges meant to interpret that? How are they going to be able to do that without making judgments in relation to rights, and without going down the path of adopting a role which is much more appropriate for the legislature than the court? There were points made earlier in relation to the separation of powers, what a court ideally does and how a court