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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 273..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

his advisers are addressing that. Whilst increasing a maximum is hardly the be-all and end-all, it does represent the community's abhorrence in relation to certain offences, and it is obviously of very strong assistance to any court that is sentencing someone to know what the community regards as a proper maximum for the worst type of offence in that category. I think that our penalties for a number of offences are still far too low. I would encourage the attorney and his officers to look at increasing some of these offences generally and then, obviously, come back and put them up again if he is going to keep to this regime of giving a top-up for offences against a woman and her unborn baby.

I note that the government has circulated an amendment to clause 18 which provides that an offence is not an aggravated offence if the defendant proves, on the balance of probabilities, that he or she did not know, and could not reasonably have known, that the woman was pregnant. There is a big problem with that. You cannot use a defence like that in relation to culpable driving. If someone is haring around a corner on the wrong side of the road at 100 kilometres an hour, smashes into a car and kills a little kid in the back of the car, not knowing that the kid is there, that is culpable driving. I think that that makes a nonsense of this amendment.

At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly was put.

Adjournment

Belwest Foxes Soccer Club

MR BERRY (Ginninderra) (6.00): I would like to take the opportunity tonight to recognise the work in the community of the Belwest Foxes Soccer Club. I am the patron of that club and it has given me a great deal of pleasure to be associated with it for several years.

Belwest Foxes is a fun-based, family and community orientated organisation that provides the environment for anyone in the West Belconnen area to participate in the game of football regardless of their skill or ability. The teams have been spectacularly successful. Over 700 men, women, boys and girls play in Belwest jerseys. Fifty-four teams play each weekend of the season and 2005 was a particularly successful year for the growth in participation of women and girls in the sport-a direct result of the effort put into this area by the club. Belwest Foxes also participate in the Kanga Cup, with some success on the field.

I have to say that on the occasions when I have visited the playing fields when these teams have been playing-from the littlies right through to more senior players-it is like a well-honed military operation, with teams coming and going and the organisational skills at work to ensure that the game is developed in West Belconnen.

What I would like to recognise is the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make the club such a success. It does not just happen because a bunch of people want to have a game of soccer; it happens because there is a group of women, men and families who want to engage with the community to ensure that young people communicate with each other in a social and sporting way out there in the community.


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