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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 2 Hansard (10 February) . . Page.. 570..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

Emergency Services) (8.57): I love the selflessness. It is not about Mrs Dunne; it is the incredibly onerous workload on members on the government side.

I also note the incredibly generous concession of one month on the part of the Liberal Party. Instead of taking over half a year, it will just take half a year to do this inquiry. I shake my head. But if that is the will of the Assembly, so be it and we will work with it.

But I would simply make the point that I would have thought four or five months would have been quite adequate to conduct this inquiry, but apparently it needs to be at least half a year—of course, all this from a bill that the Liberal Party previously said was undercooked and needed to be tougher. Nevertheless, we will work with what we have got.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (8.59): I think the point does need to be made, and I think the people of Canberra have a right to understand exactly what is happening here today. The government proposed legislation which has a degree of urgency in relation to protecting the community.

Mr Smyth: Seven years.

MR STANHOPE: Well, there we have it again. Seven years Mr Smyth laments, and then actually adds another year, in the context of a bill which the Liberal Party—

Mr Seselja: It is so urgent you waited seven years.

MR STANHOPE: No, it is an issue in relation to continuing and continuous law reform that this government has pursued over the last seven years. This is a particular issue over which we were castigated by the Liberal Party in the lead-up to the election last year for not being tough enough. The proposal we are pursuing through this particular bill was announced during the election campaign. It was a commitment we made in the election campaign. This is one of our promises we made to the people of Canberra, and we were criticised by the Liberal Party for being weak and soft on crime. They said we were not taking seriously enough the issue of the lack of capacity of courts and authorities to deliver a murder conviction.

It has now been 11 years in the ACT without a conviction for murder, and the people of Canberra ask questions about that. You can raise a whole range of hypothetical issues in relation to the definition as it currently stands and the scenarios that do play out in our community—the capacity to stab someone 60 or 70 times and not be convicted if there is no intent to kill.

Mrs Dunne: So it was a knee-jerk reaction to an individual case.

MR STANHOPE: It was not. I raised a hypothetical case and a possibility.

Mr Hanson: On a point of order, Madam Assistant Speaker, regarding relevance, the amendment is about reducing the amount of time that the committee will have to inquire into this bill. It is not about the appropriateness of the bill.


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