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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 November 2005) . . Page.. 4151 ..


dominant group in the criminal justice system. We need case workers who have no more than 8-10 clients and who can give due attention to people’s long-term needs.

The case management approach allows people with a mental illness to be supported in their own homes. Of course there are issues around whether they have a place to live or not. I am quite sure a number of homeless people also have problems with mental illness. We need to question whether the idea of putting people together in institutions, expecting them, as we would not expect ourselves, to be able to get on with everyone that is put in there with them, is definitely the model that we should follow.

Case managers who are properly trained—and there are issues about numbers of people employed and their ability to do the incredibly stressful work requiring the great expertise that is called for—would assist people to remain well. What happens, though, when a case manager goes on leave? We need mechanisms that provide that support when, as case managers do, they take their family leave, their holiday leave, and so on. I hope that is still going to be possible in the reformed IR system.

Too often our mental health system relies on crisis care and too often—

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): The time for the discussion has expired. The discussion is concluded.

Crimes (Sentencing) Bill 2005

Detail stage

Clause 33.

Debate resumed.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (4.45): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I will conclude my comments on my important amendment No 4. I note some of the comments that have been made by others in the debate. In responding to those comments, I simply make the point that the government’s proposal in relation to the development of what is essentially an offence acknowledges that an assault on a pregnant woman can be dealt with in the context of being regarded very much as an aggravated feature of an assault. And that is what this is. It is an aggravated offence for which the maximum penalties available for a simple offence, an offence of assault or violence that is perpetrated on another human being, are increased.

In the context of a woman who is pregnant, this sentencing arrangement will allow a court, obviously consequent or subject to the passage of amendments to include aggravated offence within chapter 5 of the criminal code, to apply sentencing principles to take into account any harm that is caused to the pregnancy or the child born alive as a result of the pregnancy. The government’s position in relation to this, of course, is that this is a far preferable way of dealing with this particular issue of an assault on a pregnant woman than the approach which the opposition in this place has sought to pursue on a couple of occasions in recent years.


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