Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 2546 ..
MR OSBORNE: Scrutiny Report No. 11 of 1998 contains the committee's comments on six Bills and eight pieces of subordinate legislation. I commend the report to the Assembly.
Mr Speaker, I also inform the Assembly that, although the committee has received a government response to the committee's comments on the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) of 1998, it is still considering that response. I expect that the committee will report on Tuesday of next week on that matter.
Debate resumed from 24 September 1998, on motion by Mr Humphries:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (10.41): Mr Speaker, I have very little comment to offer in relation to this Bill. It is a significant piece of work that the Attorney-General's Department has done on updating the schedules of penalties. The Statute Law Revision (Penalties) Bill implements a review of penalties which has been ongoing within the ACT and throughout Australia. It deals with a very difficult issue, the development of an appropriate range of penalties for all the offences that our legislation covers.
The Labor Party notes that the review is ongoing, that further amendments will be required and that certain offences have not been covered by this particular Bill. It is indeed very difficult in the context of a debate such as this for any member of the Assembly to get across the detailed implications of all the new penalties. In relation to a Bill such as this, I think it is appropriate that the Attorney and his department continue to monitor the impact and the effectiveness of the new penalties. Subject to the caution about the need for penalties and their appropriateness to be constantly monitored and assessed for appropriateness, the Opposition is happy to support this Bill.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.42), in reply: Mr Speaker, I want to thank the Opposition for its support for this Bill. As members are aware, this exercise in revising the penalty regime for the Territory and incorporating the concept of penalty units has been a massive exercise that has taken a very large amount of time and effort. Three Assemblies have considered this issue. I am pleased to say that we are drawing to a close in that exercise.
This exercise was commenced at a time when inflation was running at a rather higher rate than it is at the moment, when it was felt that there would be a need fairly regularly to go back and revisit the state of various penalties, to make sure that they were being kept up to date with the value of money. Just at the moment inflation is not quite such a serious problem, and obviously we hope that it does not return to the problem that it has been