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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 3337 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

been community service workers. Community service is not something people particularly like to do. It is totally disruptive to their lives. It can be a better or worse experience, depending on the organisation they do the work for. It does have benefits for the community, something which I have already pointed out has not been brought into the analysis of the costs and benefits.

I believe that these amendments are reasonable and that this idea of Mr Humphries' could end up costing a lot more in social and economic terms in the long term.

MR BERRY (11.40): These pieces of legislation have a bit of history. These Bills were introduced by Mr Stanhope to draw attention to some matters which are well stated in what were originally intended to be amendments to government legislation. Of course, the Government did not want to be reminded of them. Mr Stanhope has reintroduced them, quite appropriately, to make certain provisions in relation to the issue of corrections and so on. What troubles me is that the Government seems to have a fixation on cost. That is all it seems to be worrying about. That is what I hear coming loud and clear from the Government.

It is disturbing for me that the crossbenchers have apparently given their support to the Government's position, not on the issue of costs, but just on the basis of retribution. I was once responsible for prisons. The principles of corrections, as I remember them, are deterrence, public safety, retribution and rehabilitation, but not in that order.

Mr Humphries: Not retribution.

MR BERRY: Retribution is one of them.

Mr Wood: Punishment.

MR BERRY: Punishment.

Mr Humphries: Punishment maybe, not retribution.

MR BERRY: It depends on how you see it. In my view, rehabilitation has always been, and should always be, the primary focus of any civilised community. I rather see that primary focus slipping because all sorts of excuses are seized upon to make it harder for people who are seen to be public enemies. People who commit crime in the community are out of step with community norms and have to be dealt with, but locking them away at the earliest opportunity is not the answer.

Over the years we have all heard complaints from police about magistrates who let criminals out, who let repeated offenders out or who do not punish them hard enough. It becomes quite tedious because it attempts to plug into the law and order fear campaign that we have had some experience of over the years and that we have had more of recently. I am a little bit disappointed that rehabilitation seems not to be a focus that Mr Rugendyke is terribly interested in.

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