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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 8 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3407..


General of the ACT have attempted to use religion to vilify someone, to say essentially that their motives are corrupt because of the nature of their religion. I wish to make that point.

If Mr Corbell wants to argue on the merits of the case in terms of what are the appropriate penalty units as a response to people who provide R-rated material to minors, let us have that debate, and let us have that in an appropriate way. But let us not try and drag in religion in this vile manner that the Attorney-General has.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (3.43): It is interesting to reflect on what has happened in the last 10 minutes or so. We had a discussion where Mrs Dunne put forward some amendments proposing to double penalties. She had her argument for that, and that was fair enough. To use Mr Hanson's word, that was an appropriate way to have the debate. I then stood up and said, "I see where Mrs Dunne is coming from, but because of the way the act is structured and the relative classification of offences, I believe that ultimately it makes sense to keep the act internally consistent."

It was Mrs Dunne who then dragged it into the gutter when she stood up and, because of that position that I took, basically said that somehow the Greens did not care about protecting children—and all the other wild accusations she proceeded to make once her amendments had been rejected.

Let us just reflect on where this went. Mr Hanson stood up and talked about vile accusations and vilification. I am not going to speak for the attorney, but let us just reflect back on where this debate was going. We were having a fairly ordinary debate on what is the most appropriate penalty level. I saw it as not being the right way to go within the internal consistency of the act—to just double the penalties—because with these things there is usually a pattern and structure to them. I think that it was most unfortunate—but it is the tactics that we often see over here—to take a perfectly reasonable statement and twist it into something that was not actually said and was far from the intent of the member who actually voiced the position. That is the gutter tactics we have seen in this discussion.

It is a real shame, because this is a good piece of legislation. My speech was very much about the fact that this legislation provides protections for children. We probably could have just left it at that, but, as is so often the case, it caused this side of the chamber to take it just one step too far. They cannot help themselves.

Bill, as a whole, agreed to.

Bill agreed to.

Standing and temporary orders—suspension

Motion (by Mr Corbell) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority:

That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day, Assembly business, relating to the disallowance of Disallowable Instrument DI2012-208 being called on forthwith.


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