Page 2862 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 October 2022
I beseech you, Attorney-General, to do this—to have some compassion in your heart and listen to what is being said by those parents, listen to what is being said by frontline officers, and respond.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (3.36): It has become clear today that Mr Hanson is placing a great deal of hyperbolic emphasis on what is, at its core, a structural matter. We are on the same page on a number of substantive issues, and that is a matter of some relief. I have some amendments that refer to that.
We agree that deaths on our roads are tragic and that we must always be committed to preventing them. We agree that re-offending is a serious issue and that we must work continuously to reduce it. We agree that the experience of families who have lost loved ones on our roads must be honoured. The memories of their loved ones must be honoured. Each of those tragedies is another awful reminder of all the work we still have to do in terms of our vision of Vision Zero on our roads. We agree that sentencing and bail are difficult issues and that there is not always a clear answer. We also agree that those issues bear examination by independent experts.
It appears that where that agreement starts to fray is on whether or not the court system is fundamentally flawed, as Mr Hanson has suggested on various occasions, and that the examination of these issues should be premised on an abject failure. Mr Hanson’s proposal is to conduct a singular review, and, as we found out today, that review would apparently be led by a retired judge or judges. In fact, we have now just heard that an ACT judge should review the ACT system. I think we are making it up as we go here.
The government’s decision, by contrast, is to fund a body that can examine issues as they arise, as well as to seek advice on prospective reform. Among members of the community and people in this chamber, there is intense interest in these matters. I think that the law and the sentencing advisory council that we are in the process of setting up go to that very point. People want a substantive body to examine these issues. In my amendment I have outlined some of the work that the government is doing, and I have also indicated—in light of the opportunity I have had to undertake further consultation and the interest expressed in this place—that the council is being established as a matter of priority, and it will examine dangerous driving issues as a matter of priority, given that these are of such significant interest to members of the community.
We have some work to do on consulting on the details and crystallising exactly those terms of reference, and I will be pleased to work with members to define those terms of reference. This is why we have been trying to take our time to deliberately step through and think through these matters and make sure that we create the right mechanism, as opposed to Mr Hanson, who just comes in here—we have been talking about having an independent review—and says that an ACT judge should sit on the thing that reviews ACT sentencing. How is that independent? I look forward to his explanation of that.
Mr Hanson: You don’t like that idea?