Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1119 ..
MR WOOD: I am very pleased you cleared that up because the change to the CSOs has caused some problems. That is not a matter for debate at this moment. Mr Humphries having cleared that up, I am more comfortable now with the briefing that I received from an officer of his department, which certainly did not express any cost-saving factor in the change to the way CSOs were being handled.
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I wish to move that the debate be adjourned.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a short statement to the Assembly before that motion is moved, so that I can give a reason for not adjourning the debate.
Mr Berry: No, there are rules.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Berry, Mr Humphries is seeking leave. As you well know, members can do anything in this Assembly if they have leave of the Assembly. Is leave granted?
Mr Berry: I will not pursue, for the moment, the motion to adjourn the debate. He can speak whenever he likes, as a Minister.
MR HUMPHRIES: Once I have spoken, Mr Berry, I am quite happy to take a motion to adjourn and we can then vote on that motion. But I want to put to the Assembly reasons why we should not do so. First of all, I will respond to what Ms Tucker has had to say. With respect, I think Ms Tucker is arguing for abolition of the option of going to gaol at all for fine default.
Ms Tucker: No, as a step between. As his amendments say, the community service option before gaol.
MR HUMPHRIES: Okay. The point is that when you get to the stage of going to gaol you have, from a financial point of view, failed, that is, the Territory has failed. It costs more to put someone in gaol than we actually recover in the way of a notional recovery of money for a fine default. In a sense, gaol is not a particularly desirable option. The only reason that I have advocated retaining gaol as a final option is that it is an incentive to people who do not want to get to that option to pay their fine. That is why I have suggested that as an alternative option.
But, with respect, we have to look at the finances of the matter, and they are the finances which appear on the pages of the budget documents, for example, before us. If we were to implement these measures proposed by Mr Stanhope, we would end up with a cost of $170,000. I am happy to debate whether that is an accurate figure and to juggle the figures a bit to see whether we can reduce the costs a bit. Maybe we can have cheaper