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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3961..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

problem gambler in relation to poker machines. Statistically, that should mean that he is not using ATMs in a poker machine venue, so the removal of poker machines would not necessarily impact on him or his gambling practices.

To make another point quite clear, this motion does not call for a prohibition; it calls for a reduction. That is quite different. It means that people who use machines socially still can and they can still continue to be part of the community, as so many people believe is vital. But we do need to then put a check on how many there are out there, and we need the opportunity to target problem gamblers more closely. That is what I was trying to achieve today.

I am disappointed that Labor and Liberal were not interested in supporting either this motion or the amendment to see a report on the benefits of what it is I was trying to do today. I thank Ms Tucker for her support, but I reiterate my disappointment that we cannot look at the number of gaming machines in the ACT or at whether reducing the number is good or bad for the community. I would like to see them reduced. Hopefully, the government's response to the ACT Gaming and Racing Commission report is a little more enlightening than the debate today.

Motion negatived.

Bail (Serious Offences) Amendment Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 25 June 2003, on motion by Mr Stefaniak:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS DUNDAS (5.38): Mr Speaker, the ACT Democrats will not be supporting this bill as moved by the Liberal opposition today. The issue of bail is quite a contentious one, and I have had a number of representations about this issue from different people over the last number of years. We need to be very careful about the conditions under which we effectively detain people who have not been convicted of any offence. I quote paragraph 11 of the Law Reform Commission report on laws relating to bail:

It is undeniable that, despite the presumption of innocence, a person who is denied bail may be incarcerated for several months as a consequence of unproven allegations of a criminal offence which he or she may not have committed. Such a person may suffer real hardship as a consequence and, even if subsequently acquitted, may be left with a justified sense of grievance. It is not unknown for bail to be opposed but the charges subsequently dropped due to the paucity of incriminating evidence or even, on occasion, the subsequent discovery of evidence effectively exonerating the accused person. Furthermore, as John Donne observed sadly, no person is an island. When someone is abruptly taken from the community and imprisoned, his or her family may also suffer financial and emotional hardship. Yet even if he or she is ultimately acquitted there will normally be no financial compensation.

It needs to be clearly understood that, whether or not bail is granted to a defendant, the court may make an error in its decision. In his presentation speech, Mr Stefaniak alluded to a case where a court granted bail to a defendant who then went on to commit a further offence. We must also remember that the court may make the opposite mistake of


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