Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (26 May) . . Page.. 545 ..
Mr Humphries: I think you should check your records, Mr Speaker. I can give you a copy of his speech, if you like. He certainly has made comments on this Bill.
MR SPEAKER: In that case, we can overcome the problem by Mr Stanhope seeking leave to speak again. I will be quite happy to allow that.
MR OSBORNE (11.49): Mr Speaker, perhaps I could speak briefly before Mr Stanhope does, just on one issue which I think Mr Stanhope will be talking about.
MR SPEAKER: Yes, if you wish, Mr Osborne. You can seek leave to speak again, Mr Stanhope, if you wish.
MR OSBORNE: I do have a scrutiny of Bills report to table a little bit later, Mr Speaker, and I was going to speak on this particular Bill, given that it was adjourned because of some comments made in our report last week. The issue was raised with our legal adviser this morning. I think the main issue is around this one sentence:
It would be undesirable for a sentencing court to attempt to ascertain the state of the common law in 1993 as a guide.
As I said, we raised this with our legal adviser this morning, and he said that, if Mr Humphries were to clarify the position, he would be satisfied, so as to clear it up. So, perhaps when Mr Humphries is closing the debate, he will clarify the Government's view on that. I think that will ease our concerns in the scrutiny of Bills committee and also the concerns of other members.
MR BERRY (11.51): Mr Speaker, Labor opposes this Bill, and for very good reason. It is part of a pattern which seems to be developing in this place of toughening up laws in the Territory - on the one hand, attacking the civil liberties of members of the community; but, on the other hand, putting in place what we consider, at any rate, to be inappropriate considerations that we require magistrates to take into account.
It has already been said in this place many times that the prevalence of a crime should not be a matter which magistrates concern themselves with in relation to the sentencing of somebody who has been found guilty of a particular crime. It is quite wrong for a person who has committed a crime to pay the price for crimes that have been committed by somebody else. It just does not make a lot of sense to me, and I think I am representative of the broader community. It is not a concept that many in the community would support. A range of issues are taken into account in relation to sentencing people who are guilty of crimes. They include the punishment, or retribution, and also public safety, rehabilitation and so on. But to take into account the prevalence of a crime in the community, I think, is a serious, backward step in the development of law in this Territory.
It is said that it happens in other States. That just does not make it right. It just does not make it right that it happens in another State. Because two other States do it does not make it right. The fact of the matter is that we have to take into consideration the effect on individuals arising from this. It is just not right, as I said earlier, for somebody who has been found guilty of a crime to pay a price because a number of other people have