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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1200..


December 2002, to extend the law to allow male homosexual, lesbian and other same sex couples to adopt children.

We ask that the ACT Government maintains the existing law that gives to every child for adoption the right and opportunity to be raised in a home parented by a mother and father.

Adoption of children

by Mrs Burke , from 152 residents:

We the members of the Crossroads Christian Church, as citizens of the ACT, have signed this petition to express our dismay and opposition to the ACT Government's proposed Legislation (Gay, Lesbian and Transgender) Amendment Bill 2002. We oppose this legislation because it erodes the pre-eminent status of marriage and because it allows same sex couples to adopt children.

We ask that the ACT Government maintains the existing law that gives to every child for adoption the right and opportunity to be raised by a mother and father, and that traditional Christian marriage be preserved as the pre-eminent relationship model within our society.

The Clerk having announced that the terms of the petitions would be recorded in Hansard and a copy referred to the appropriate minister, the petitions were received.

Sentencing Reform Amendment Bill 2003

Mr Stefaniak, pursuant to notice, presented the bill.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STEFANIAK (10.35): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, I have detected, over many years, concerns in relation to sentencing in the ACT. I first came across it when I started work as a public prosecutor in 1979. Even in those days, the ACT had a reputation for being somewhat more lenient than other jurisdictions.

However, in those days, it was the exception rather than the rule for a person to receive a non-custodial sentence-that is, not spending any time in jail-when convicted of an offence before the ACT Supreme Court. I have noticed, over the years, that that is no longer the exception. Indeed, it is becoming commonplace for persons not to receive custodial sentences for serious crimes when before the ACT Supreme Court.

Over the years, there has often been criticism levelled by members of the public at what they see as excessive leniency in our Magistrates Court, as well as in the more high profile cases that appear in the Supreme Court.


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