Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2467 ..
security for the people of the ACT. We on this side of the house are pleased to support it.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.43): This is a bill that makes significant changes to the criminal law in the ACT. It creates three new serious crimes, it expands two existing offences and it reintroduces two legal concepts. In short, it is a serious bill that makes significant changes to the operation of criminal law.
Earlier today during the surveillance devices bill discussion, I spoke about rushed responses such as anti-bikie laws introduced in other Australian jurisdictions. These laws were quickly implemented in response to perceived concerns. The result has been High Court challenges to the laws, coupled with the fear that criminal groups have been pushed further underground and made harder to investigate. The potential for some criminal groups to be now acting in a way that makes it much harder for police to investigate them is an unintended consequence that cuts directly across the reason for introducing the laws—that is, to make our community safer.
The Greens believe the changes introduced today are a well-thought-through response to serious crime. They are changes that are not a knee-jerk reaction; they follow on from a detailed report last year that the government tabled in the Assembly. The changes in this legislation were flagged in that report, and members have had time to contemplate the broad proposals and issues involved. For this reason, the Greens broadly support the bill.
There is one key concern we have, and we will be moving amendments to address the concern. The Greens believe firmly—I have said this in this place before—that you should be charged with a crime you commit, not the group you belong to. There is a danger that this principle is jeopardised in one of the new criminal offences to be created today. I will outline the detail of our concerns and a solution at a later stage of debate.
Aside from that one concern, we have examined the remainder of the bill and are satisfied it is an appropriate and balanced response to serious organised crime. The remainder of the bill introduces criminal liability concepts, such as “knowingly concerned” and “joint enterprise”. I will not step through the very detailed legal rationale behind concepts such as these. For those who are required to look at that level of detail in the future, the explanatory statement provides a good level of information on the case law underlying these concepts.
However, broadly speaking, the new concepts introduced today cater for the reality that people commit crimes in groups. Because much of the criminal law constructs offences on the individual level, legal loopholes have arisen where a crime is committed by a group. Put simply, it has become difficult and complex to prove guilt where multiple people have acted as one, and the amendments address those gaps in the law. For now it is enough to say that the Greens support the bill, and we look forward to debating our amendments later in the discussion.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.46), in reply: I thank members for their support of the bill. It