Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 2594..
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (12.15), by leave: I move amendments Nos 1 to 4 circulated in my name together [see schedule 1 at page 2658].
Amendments 1 to 4 remove from schedule 1 amendments 1.1 to 1.5. These are the matters that deal with the reduction of sentence as a result of assistance in the administration of justice. As I said in my comments at the in-principle stage, the Canberra Liberals do not believe that this is an appropriate approach to take at the moment. The attorney again repeated the comments that there was jurisprudence for this in New South Wales and that this would be the guide.
However, the problem with that jurisprudence in New South Wales is that it is based on quite different sentences and therefore it will be difficult to have application here in the ACT. As we have seen with a number of matters here in the ACT, New South Wales jurisprudence has been specifically excluded from the court's capacity to consider because of the disparity in sentences. We do not believe that this provides real administration of justice. It may increase the rate at which things are dealt with, the rapidity with which things are dealt with, but this is only one aspect of the administration of justice. We believe that we need to be accountable to the community and demonstrate to the community that we are providing them with a just outcome and a safe community in which to live. I do not believe that the proposal at this stage passes that test.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (12.18): The government will not be agreeing to these amendments. The Liberal Party, and the Greens, for that matter, cannot stand up in this place in future and accuse the government of failing to take steps to tackle work practice, efficiency or timeliness in the Supreme Court if they remove this provision. This is a very important part of the government's bill. It is a part of the bill that will assist in the timely consideration of matters that go before the court and allow the court to provide a small reward if the accused cooperates during the conduct of the trial and allows the trial to focus on the matters that are truly in dispute.
I would like to deal with some of the existing provisions in the New South Wales legislation that give guidance on and highlight why the government believes this provision should be included in the ACT act. The similar provision is section 22A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act of New South Wales. The case law that exists in this provision does serve as a guide to the ACT judiciary. Arguments about the appropriateness and level of sentence are not an argument not to make this provision.