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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 27 October 2011) . . Page.. 5201 ..


manslaughter and that of intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm. As I have already discussed, the DPP expressly stated that the penalty for the offence of intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm is an inadequate penalty. As one of the most serious offences in the Crimes Act, potentially resulting in harm just short of death, and requiring proof of the highest level of fault, that is, intent, it seems absurd that the Liberals would seek to create a bigger gap between the penalty for this offence and the penalty that already exists for manslaughter. The government bill, in contrast, seeks to provide some parity between penalties for these offences, recognising that the offences are of a similar seriousness.

All in all, Mrs Dunne’s bill appears to increase maximum penalties in isolation from the broad scale of penalties provided for in the statute book. This means that the relative seriousness of offences is not considered and neither is there balance between the offences. It is not difficult to find the problems this causes in Mrs Dunne’s bill. The penalty of 15 years proposed in her bill for culpable driving causing death would make the penalty for that offence the same as the current penalty for intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm. But one is a much more serious offence than the other, and Mrs Dunne’s bill does not address the imbalance that arises.

Similarly, the bill’s proposed penalty for culpable driving causing grievous bodily harm is 10 years, the same as the current penalty for recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm. These two offences involve exactly the same level of harm; that is, grievous bodily harm. However, one requires a higher level of fault than the other: recklessness compared to strict liability.

Mrs Dunne: Point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Excuse me, minister. Stop the clock, please.

Mrs Dunne: I seek your ruling. I know that the house gave the minister leave, but Mr Corbell is now debating a bill which is not before the house. He is anticipating debate on another bill and I am just wondering what your ruling on that might be.

MR CORBELL: On the point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker, Mrs Dunne has argued that this bill should not be supported in favour of her bill, and I am outlining why that argument is wrong.

Mrs Dunne: On the point of order, I did not argue that. I argued that this bill should not be supported because of the content of this bill.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you very much, Mrs Dunne. I do not sustain the point of order. Minister, you can continue.

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. Clearly the Liberals are sensitive to the weaknesses in their bill—

Mrs Dunne interjecting—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, please resume your seat. Stop the clock. Mrs Dunne, on Tuesday I repeatedly asked you not to interject across the chamber.


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