Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 June 2005 2005) . . Page.. 2124 ..
There are three categories of supplying significant quantities of very harmful illegal drugs, such as heroin or amphetamines. For supply of more than 50 times a traffickable quantity, 15 years; for supply of at least 30 but less than 50 times a traffickable quantity, 10 years; and for supply of at least 20 but less than 30 times a traffickable quantity, five years. Those recommended standard non-parole periods would very much bring us into line with New South Wales.
For a number of years New South Wales has successfully implemented sentencing guidelines. I think this was probably a Carr government initiative. It could have been the previous Fahey government. Certainly it has come into play under Carr, if not in fact introduced by his government. This bill will enable the ACT Court of Appeal to issue sentencing guidelines and guideline sentences for use by the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court. The Court of Appeal decides, “This is a typical type of case of this serious matter and we will issue a guideline judgment.”
The Attorney-General will also be able to request the Court of Appeal to give a guideline judgment. So if the attorney of the day feels that a particular matter warrants a guideline judgment or that a guideline judgment would be useful to the justice system, he can ask the Court of Appeal. The New South Wales attorney has done so on a number of occasions and the Court of Criminal Appeal has complied. This will enable the Court of Appeal to set out the guidelines to be followed for certain types of crimes and to detail what sorts of penalties should be imposed by lower courts for certain types of crimes. It has worked well in New South Wales and has been well accepted by the community, the judiciary and I think, to a large extent, the legal profession.
There is also a fourth area. The Crimes Act contains some impediments to proper sentencing, which we feel are incompatible with the Discrimination Act and other acts and probably now our Human Rights Act. They are removed, as is the provision that requires the court to consider imprisonment as an absolutely last resort. Not all that long ago, about 18 months ago, Magistrate Madden complained about a particularly nasty stalking case. He indicated that, had he not been constrained by the provision, he would have given the person, I think, 16 months. But he felt constrained. There was one other option. He did not think it would work, but he did it. I then invited the current attorney to amend the law. He initially seemed interested and then did not do so. I think Magistrate Somes has made similar comments in the last couple of years in relation to that particular provision. That is something important. We do not need provisions that actually stymie the courts and are not effectively in the interests of justice.
The amendments include some new offences, for example, carjacking. Again, these offences are lifted very much from the New South Wales situation. Carjacking is an aggravated form of taking someone’s car. You might be in your car and a gang of people come up and physically wrench you out of it, beat you up and race off with your car. For carjacking, the maximum penalty will be 10 years or, for aggravated carjacking, which is when the person who has the car is injured, it will be 14 years.
For some time now the Australian Federal Police Association has complained that there are inadequate protections for police officers in the ACT when it comes to being assaulted, stalked or harassed. They feel that the current laws are inadequate. They do not feel that they should be treated like blue punching bags. You may recall a great old