Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 August 2010) . . Page.. 3434 ..


wishes and circumstances of the child before treating their guardian as a victim. This is an important principle, especially if the harm to the victim is being caused by the guardian, which includes a parent. Second, it introduces important concepts, including who is a victim, who is a guardian, what is harm and who is a legally competent person. Apart from providing some clarity as to those matters, these amendments do not deliver any material or practical benefit to victims of crime.

The Attorney-General, in implementing a review of the victims of crime legislation, lost a golden opportunity to really drill down and see what fundamental changes could be made that would improve the services provided to victims of crime. There was a lost opportunity to engage the sector more proactively, particularly by taking every step possible to ensure that all stakeholders were fully aware of the review process and to ensure that they had the opportunity to provide input to that process. I note in passing that, when I had discussions with the Australian Federal Police Association, it was the first that they knew about these reviews.

There was a lost opportunity to engage non-government organisations on the reference group. Their exclusion on the basis that they were represented by Victim Support ACT, a government agency operating almost competitively with the non-government providers, was at best condescending and at worst insulting. Once again, we have a government and an Attorney-General who have missed opportunities, failed the very people whom this legislation is meant to protect and are more intent on building empires, or allowing them to be built, than they are on delivering services.

As far as this bill is concerned, it is a skin-on-fences bill—that is, it tries to clear the fence and get ahead of the field but it has failed to do so. It only scrapes the top of the fence. It could have cleared the fence, really improving services to victims of crime, as well as race ahead of the pack, but this Attorney-General has failed to do so.

I would hope that, with the changes in place, we will see further reforms come forward in the future that really will create real benefits for the people that this legislation is meant to serve—the victims of crime in our community.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.20): The Greens will be supporting this bill today. At the heart of this bill is the creation of a new statutory position called the Victims of Crime Commissioner. This is a renaming of an existing position and represents a new and improved formulation for the current Victims of Crime Coordinator. In shifting from a coordinator to a commissioner, the exact role of the statutory position is being clarified. This has become necessary, as discrepancy has emerged between the role assigned to the coordinator in law and the actual day-to-day role they are performing. Specifically, the coordinator has found themselves administering the victims services scheme, while the responsibility for this technically falls to the chief executive of the justice department. Regardless of whether they are called a coordinator or a commissioner, the statutory victim’s position plays a pivotal role in victim services, and they must have clearly articulated functions. The amendments today put the commissioner on a firmer footing, we believe, by clarifying that the role includes administering the scheme.

In addition to that amendment, the bill adds other worthwhile functions to the role of the commissioner. The Greens support the bill on the basis that they are good


Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video