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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (23 October) . . Page.. 4053..


MRS CROSS

(continuing):

for one second imply that somehow the UN could have resolved the problem with Iraq. It wouldn't have, and it couldn't have.

But there were a few others in the world who were sickened by the continuing brutalisation of his own people by the depraved Saddam Hussein. Chief Minister, to follow your position to its logical conclusion, we should have continued to turn a blind eye to that depravity. Maybe we should have Saddam come back and make it all better again. Would that be preferable?

You do not know what has been happening in Iraq because you have not taken the time to get off your political hobbyhorse. The children are back at school learning, small business associations are being set up, local government councils in the greater Baghdad area have been set up-

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER

: Order! The time for discussion has now expired.

Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 28 August 2003, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK

(5.17): Mr Deputy Speaker, the opposition will be supporting this bill. In the mid-1990s one of Canberra's rape crisis centre workers experienced a number of problems in relation to counselling notes at a hearing in Queanbeyan. I understand the case was before the Supreme Court of New South Wales sitting in Queanbeyan. That worker, as the attorney I think stated when he introduced this bill many months ago-debate has been adjourned a few times-was briefly jailed for contempt and held for some four hours for refusing to hand over notes. I understand the worker was one Di Lucas, who is well known for her work in the rape crisis area.

As a result of that matter a lot of action followed in New South Wales, and they enacted legislation to introduce immunity for the counselling notes of sexual offence victims. As Mr Stanhope stated, the model criminal code and the New South Wales legislation form the basis for these amendments now before the Assembly, which we support.

It should be noted that, despite advances in recent years, many victims of sexual assault still do not report the matter to police. The success rate for persons actually charged with sexual assault when the matter goes to trial is still relatively low. I still hear figures of only one in three matters succeeding in superior courts in Australia. I hope that is improving, but I still hear those figures, which is disturbing.

Whilst there have been many improvements in recent years, sexual assaults and the various justice issues around them remain a very significant problem in the criminal law area. It is particularly traumatic for victims of sexual assault to have to confront their perpetrators in court and, whilst a number of steps have been taken in recent times, especially in regard to children, a number of other problems still remain. It is a very real balancing act between the legitimate rights of the accused and the rights of the victim.


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