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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (18 August) . . Page.. 3859..

Corrections Reform Amendment Bill 2003

Detail stage

Clause 1.

Debate resumed from 10 December 2003.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (3.20): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3893]. This amendment will change the commencement date of the act. The original commencement date was somewhat naively slated for 1 July 2004, a year after I introduced the bill. This amendment will allow the minister to set a commencement date with a default date of 12 months from when the bill is passed. This simple amendment will put the ball firmly in the court of the minister to get things moving along.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (3.20): The government has made quite clear its position in relation to this legislation. We opposed it at the in-principle stage and we will continue to oppose it. Let me make clear the position the government has taken in relation to all clauses in this bill. To some extent this piece of legislation is unremarkable in so far as it simply repeats existing law. It makes no genuine attempt or effort at law reform.

We regard it as a mishmash. It adopts a completely ad hoc approach to significant issues around sentencing law and corrections law reform, and it should not be supported. Yesterday I completed the tabling of an exposure draft of a major and rigorous piece of work that has been undertaken by the government over the last two years. A major piece of law reform relating to sentencing and corrections is on the table.

Mr Smyth: Yours is bigger than mine?

MR STANHOPE: It is a rigorous piece of work that was consulted on broadly throughout the community, unlike this piece of legislation. That all-encompassing piece of work deals with all issues and aspects of sentencing and corrections in the ACT. For the first time ever it brings together 12 separate pieces of legislation in the ACT relating to sentencing and it consolidates them in a single, concise and rigorous piece of work.

It is genuine law reform; it is not just made-up law reform, or the law reform you have when you wish to be seen as a law reformer doing something in relation to anything. It is a genuine attempt at law reform in the ACT in relation to sentencing. It is the result of two years of detailed work by a sentencing review team in the Department of Justice. It involves enormous input from stakeholders across the community and it represents a far better, more consistent and more coherent approach to law reform, sentencing and corrections than does the package we are now debating. It is the view of the government

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