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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 13 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 4332..


Illegal posters

Death penalty

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (4.40): Firstly, I noticed-and I wonder whether the urban services minister would like to clarify why this is the case-on Parkes Way today that placards and posters by the ACTU had been attached to light poles and the like. I want to know whether they have been approved. It is not a legal and right thing to do, and they require permission. Permission, as I understand, from looking at the regulations, is in fact a fundamental necessity. Billposting is illegal. So it would be interesting to see whether there has been a sweetheart deal between this government and the ACTU on putting things up on our community's infrastructure.

The second point is that yesterday, in the death penalty debate, Ms MacDonald quite clearly misrepresented what I said in that debate, and I need to correct the record. I voted for and supported her motion. But in her closing address she stated a couple of things that simply did not reflect what I had said in my speech. She stated something along the lines that I "talked about the issue of trafficking in drugs that results in more deaths". She then went on to say that this is "not an argument for allowing countries to use the death penalty. The death penalty has not acted as a deterrent to people doing that."

The first point is that I referred in my speech to the death penalty not being a deterrent for anything. Clearly, Ms MacDonald did not listen to what I said. My second point is that I very strongly argued that we have a duty to advise other countries that we do not support their death penalty regimes. If we have Australians on death rows in other countries, we have a duty to vigorously campaign to have those sentences reversed to some other form of sentencing regime.

I did point out the difference between respectfully but firmly making those views very clear to other nations and "not hectoring and lecturing". Ms MacDonald clearly has a problem with that. By the comments in her closing address, she apparently believes that we should hector and lecture. How out of touch would that be? Typical Labor arrogance and ignorance! Labor has little understanding of both the harsh realities and the cultural and political sensitivities of the nations with which we closely share a piece of the globe.

The last point she made was on the issue of life meaning life in prison. Ms MacDonald portrayed another massive Labor difficultly when it comes to discussing this subject. Labor is simply incapable of taking the tough but right decisions to further protect our community from the most horrendous offenders. Ms MacDonald apparently cannot stomach the notion of locking away for the term of their natural life the odd few monsters that have emerged and will continue to emerge in society. Apparently she would rather inflict them back on society at some stage after some jail term.

On that, I would refer Ms MacDonald and her colleagues to Dennis Shanahan's excellent editorial in last Saturday's Australian about the yawning gap between Labor, which is too far to the left, and the rest of the Australian community in terms of community expectations on fundamental issues. Have a look at that paper; have a look at that article. I would say that Ms MacDonald's closing speech yesterday starkly illustrates that yawning gap.


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