Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 November 2022) . . Page.. 3935 ..
MR HANSON: My question is to the Attorney-General. You have recently and repeatedly refused to undertake a review into sentencing in the ACT, despite pleas from thousands in the community to do so. You refused because you claimed the evidence showed it was not needed.
I refer to work from Tom McLuckie and the resulting articles entitled “Key ACT government data exposed as inaccurate” and “Flawed ACT govt sentencing data exposes more awkward questions”. It has been revealed government data incorrectly inflates the number of offences and the time that offenders spend in prison as a result. Attorney-General, how do you stand by your decision to refuse to conduct a review when the data you have been using is shown to be “flawed and inaccurate”?
MR RATTENBURY: There are a number of indicators which show that the ACT sits broadly in the middle of the pack amongst Australian jurisdictions when it comes to sentencing. That data is not being disputed. That is data the government provides to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It is reported through a range of nationally recognised reports, including the Report on government services, and that data is derived under nationally agreed standards for data collection. They are the figures that I have been speaking of in my various commentaries around this matter.
Mr McLuckie has undertaken some analysis. He has written to me indicating his concerns with some of those data figures. I am in the process of looking at those questions he has raised, and I will respond to Mr McLuckie in those areas. I think that some of the tenor of it goes to, perhaps, a disagreement on how some of these figures are measured. For example, there is a debate about recidivism data and how one describes recidivism. I, again, use the recognised national measure under the Report on government services but other people have different views on how we might measure that. That is a dialogue I am happy to engage with Mr McLuckie on. I appreciate the fact that he is spending a lot of time having a look at this information. I intend to engage with him on those discussions as I get further advice.
MR HANSON: Minister, who is conducting that review into the data, and will you correct the public record should you find that his analysis is correct?
MR RATTENBURY: I am seeking that advice from a range of sources within ACT government from my own directorate. The courts are obviously an important source of data, and I note the Director of Public Prosecutions, in his recent appearance before the dangerous driving inquiry of the Justice and Community Safety Standing Committee, challenged some of the analysis of those figures, so I think there is some work to be done in this space.
What I will commit to in this Assembly is that I am not simply waving this away; we are looking at it closely. I suspect, as is the nature of statistics, there will be ongoing debate on these things. For example, we also saw in the recent annual report hearings that, when asked about the figures cited by the Australian Federal Police Association, the police union, even the Chief Police Officer could not indicate where those figures