Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3315 ..
Mr Humphries: Not in most parts of Australia, it is not.
MR STANHOPE: No, I just made that point, Mr Attorney. I said I took your point that other parts of Australia apparently have a provision such as this, but we do not here in the ACT. This is the first law that I am aware of in the ACT that allows the detention of a citizen of Canberra in Canberra otherwise than through arrest. I think that is a significant change of the law. It is not one that I like or think that we should make lightly.
I would like us to impose on ourselves, to impose on the Government, to impose on the Attorney's department, the discipline required to seriously assess this legislation in 18 months' time to see how it is being operated and to see whether or not our decision to trammel the rights and liberties of a class of person actually is justified by the ends. Do the means justify the ends here? Will the protection that this will afford to women and children, particularly, in Canberra justify this deprivation of the liberty of people that will be affected by this legislation? That is the balance we are talking about here and I think it is an issue which we should keep under review.
I would like this provision to impose that discipline on the Government and on the administrators of this legislation to ensure that that sort of monitoring is done. The police, as I have said, have a most difficult and unwinnable job to perform in relation to domestic violence. This legislation gives them a significant advance in their powers and we really do need to ensure that it is rigorously assessed so that we in Canberra are comfortable with what we are doing. I urge members to support this provision. It allows the Bill to become law as soon as it does. It does not inhibit the protections that the Minister is seeking to obtain through this legislation, but it does impose that discipline on us.
MR OSBORNE (10.54): Mr Speaker, I will not be supporting this amendment moved by Mr Stanhope. I have a problem with sunset clauses in legislation because I do not see the point of them. I think if something is not working you bring it back and you fix it rather than just have some legislation in place so that you forget about it. If Mr Stanhope feels that the new regime that will be in place because of this legislation is being abused or is not working, I suggest that an easier way would be to try to do something - - -
Mr Stanhope: Refer it to your committee.
MR OSBORNE: Try to refer it back to my committee. Thank you. To the justice part of it rather than the scrutiny part, I suggest, Mr Stanhope. Given that this is a unique piece of legislation, especially in relation to other scrutiny of Bills issues, yes, we do need to keep a very close eye on the Constable Plods, as I think Mr Humphries said. I understand why there are not Constable Plods anymore. It is because certain members are no longer part of that regime.
Mr Hird: He was a senior constable.
MR OSBORNE: He was not looking.
Mr Rugendyke: I missed that, Mr Speaker.