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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 320 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

I am also concerned that basically, once again, the response we are getting from the Liberal Government and, unfortunately, I understand, from Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne on this matter is that somehow by doing this we are going to change what is happening in our society. If you want to look at how many of our young people are coming through the courts and why they are coming through the courts, you will see that most of them are there because they have a problem with drugs. Do you honestly believe that, if they hear a particular crime is going to bring a greater sentence because suddenly it has become a crime that is under the prevalence condition, they are not going to enter into that activity; that suddenly they will say, "Maybe I will not commit that crime at this point because the prevalence function has come into place. No; I will commit another crime."? It is patently ridiculous.

This just shows the very unsophisticated approach that has been taken. The problem with it is, of course, that this response does not cost very much in money. This response might make some people in the community who do not understand the causes of crime and the difficulties that we face as a society in addressing those causes of crime think this is actually useful. In fact most people, most thinking people, I believe, will be very disappointed by this response from the Government.

Most people who think about the issues want to see the Government taking responsibility for the causes of crime, coming in with prevention, coming in with intervention, coming in with support for those people in our society who end up coming into conflict with the law. People do not choose to do it because it is a way of earning a living. People come into contact with crime and behave in an antisocial way because they are put in a position of no choice. That is where we have to move. It is just so disappointing to see this again, and I cannot express strongly enough how unwise I believe it is.

I want to ask again that people support an adjournment, because I believe we need to look at what the scrutiny of Bills committee has said about this Bill as well. I am proposing, in fact, that it be adjourned until such time as all members who want to look at this feel comfortable with it. If it requires that we speak to the expert adviser to get clarification on these comments, we should have time to do that.

MR WOOD (12.27): Mr Speaker, it is a sound principle that people convicted of an offence should be sentenced on the basis of the crime they committed and not on the basis of crimes that other people committed, and I would have hoped that the Attorney-General, the senior law person in this city, would have been adopting that principle. Instead, we are going on some sort of law and order campaign.

Last night I saw on Media Watch an account of a Channel 7 program, I believe, on crime by young people in the New South Wales outback town of Bourke. That channel had run a program showing a disgraceful state of affairs, as it said, in Bourke. The whole impression we have of young people and behaviour in Bourke is that Bourke is in a very bad situation. But on this occasion Media Watch, after making a few very basic inquiries, was able to show that the program screened by Channel 7 was an outrageous beat-up;

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