Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 984 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (11.15): I thank members for their indulgence and their courtesy to me on this occasion.
Mr Berry: Do not thank me.
MR HUMPHRIES: No, I will not thank you, Mr Berry. We thank you for leaving, Mr Berry.
Mr Speaker, I think it is quite important that I do rise only briefly in this debate to speak once more, because there were some rather extraordinary statements made by Mr Stanhope a little while ago in this debate when he alleged that the figures supplied to him by the Australian Institute of Criminology indicated that there simply were not the offences taking place on the streets of Canberra that would warrant the use of move-on powers. As a police Minister who has not only been told about serious problems on the streets of Canberra over the last three years but also actually seen them take place - I have seen more assaults take place on the streets of Canberra than the figures Mr Stanhope refers to would indicate - I felt that there was something fairly strange about the way in which Mr Stanhope was quoting the figures. So, I have gone back and checked the figures. Indeed, Mr Speaker, it appears that Mr Stanhope has rather seriously misread the documents that he has at his disposal.
I have here a document from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which I gather is the same source as the information that the Institute of Criminology has relied upon - I suggest you check that - and, indeed, under "Victims of Assault" for 1996 under the classification "Street/footpath" there are none recorded for the ACT; that is quite true. That compares with, for example, 11,763 in New South Wales. However, Mr Speaker, it is clear if you read the rest of the table that there is a classification difference between the ACT and New South Wales. In the ACT they are classified not by whether they are on a street or footpath, in an open space, in a "community location n.e.c.", or whatever; they are obviously classified according to "community location n.f.d.".
In that respect, Mr Speaker, in 1996 there were 713 assaults on the streets of Canberra, or at least in community locations in Canberra, as well as assaults in other places. There were 82 assaults in education institutions, four in health institutions, two in religious institutions, 16 in transport terminals - that is, bus terminals and, possibly, the train station - and another 67 in car parks. Mr Speaker, there were well over 800 assaults on the streets of Canberra in one year. Before we rely on Mr Stanhope for figures, I suggest that he check them more carefully next time.
Mr Speaker, let us put this in perspective for one minute. We had 2,600 move-ons over four years, with 365 days in a year. Even if all those move-ons occurred in the space of a single year, it amounts to move-ons being exercised by less than one per cent of the ACT's police force on any given day, and on only one person on that given day. Mr Speaker, it is hardly a power which is being used to trample on or ride roughshod over the rights of citizens the length and breadth of this Territory, is it?