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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 5 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1704..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

Did the Victorian government take the approach of requiring legislation like the OMCG legislation? No, they did not. The police got on with the job of tackling the issue and using their existing powers to break up the gangland syndicates involved, to arrest the people who had committed the murders and to prosecute those matters. So there is an interesting contrast between the two jurisdictions, and that is something we should bear in mind in this debate.

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) (5.03): As the Attorney-General has just noted, all Australian jurisdictions have laws that seek to combat organised crime, and the ACT is no exception.

From time to time we amend these laws, as our understanding of the operations of organised criminals improves and as the technologies that help us combat such crimes improve. As Mr Corbell has just iterated, last year the ACT government introduced the Crimes (Controlled Operations) Act 2008, which enables ACT Policing to use covert investigative measures to identify suspects and obtain evidence for criminal prosecution.

The ACT also has the Confiscation of Criminal Assets Act 2003, which deprives offenders from gaining material advantage from their criminal acts. This same law also enables the effective tracing and seizure of criminal assets and allows the territory to enforce interstate confiscation orders. The Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 currently authorises the judiciary to impose non-association orders and place restriction orders upon convicted offenders.

Madam Assistant Speaker Dunne, as you would be aware, the ACT government is also currently reviewing all police investigative powers in the territory. A steering committee which includes representatives from ACT Policing, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Bar Association, the ACT Law Society, legal aid and the Human Rights Commission meets, I think, quite shortly to start this important work.

As part of this process, the ACT government will also draft the remaining elements of the cross-border investigative powers model laws, which are helping the jurisdictions to take a coordinated and cooperative approach to cross-border investigations into organised crime. These laws cover the protection of witnesses' identities, assumed identities and the lawful use of surveillance devices. This is how good law is best made: soberly; based on evidence rather than intuition; and driven by expert opinion, not the editorial pages of the most outrageous tabloids we can find and the most shrill and ignorant of the morning radio shock jocks.

Laws should not be made to make people feel safe; laws should be made to make people actually safe. Good law rarely arises from knee-jerk reactions to isolated instances of criminality. Good law does not routinely treat an alleged murder committed by a Chinese triad member as qualitatively different from an alleged murder committed by someone wearing motorcycle leathers. Good law is dispassionate, not passionate. Good law does not seek to inflame community fears, but to establish realistically the degree of fear that is warranted.


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