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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4844..


MR SPEAKER: Direct your comments through the chair, Mr Stefaniak. Order, Mr Wood!

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I would point out to Mr Wood, through you, that as Attorney-General I introduced the Bail Act-especially section 9A-which the police wanted. The first part, I give credit, the government supported when a few improvements to that were suggested by the Chief Justice and the Chief Magistrate. For some reason, they went back to showing their true colours-they probably were soft on crime even then-and did not support that. But Anchorage was responsible, even members opposite have grudgingly conceded, for the number of burglaries dropping. Burglaries have continued to fall, with a few hiccups, as a result of good programs such as Anchorage and the more recent Halite, and the Bail Act.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The time for this debate has expired.

Crimes (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 12 December 2002, on motion by Mr Corbell:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MS TUCKER (4.25): Mr Pratt has gone missing, so I will pick it up. This is very important legislation for the Legislative Assembly to be debating today. I have been very concerned about some of the misinformation that has been put out about this legislation, so I want to make some points about what this legislation actually does.

Firstly, I would like to make clear that this legislation will not be onerous for responsible employers. It will not mean, as Mr Peters of the chamber of commerce has claimed, that responsible employers will be sentenced to prison for events over which they had no control. I am aware that there are already many pressures on the business community and I am very sorry that this campaign of the chamber of commerce has been so ill-informed and has caused so much unnecessary distress.

My support of this proposed legislation is largely because it will make clear that in this society we do not believe that large corporations should be able to avoid responsibility through complex subcontracting arrangements. The bill does not change the legal situation for natural persons. A person will commit an offence only if it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that the person was criminally reckless or criminally negligent and caused the death of a worker. We are talking about the death of a worker-a very serious issue.

Both negligence and recklessness are defined in the criminal code 2002. This legislation does not vary these definitions and both terms have been the subject of extensive legal debate before the courts. Recklessness requires the person to be aware of a substantial risk and, having regard to the circumstances known to the person, it is unjustifiable to take that risk. Negligence requires such a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the circumstance, and it must be proved, again, beyond reasonable doubt, which is a very high test. The test is not the civil test of the balance of probabilities, as some people still seem to think.


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