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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 670 ..

MR QUINLAN: I have a supplementary question which I am sure will also be taken on notice. Obviously, why the delay and all that stuff; but will the grants be made on a full 12-month basis, given that we are well into this calendar year, to allow catch-up in the full program?

MR HUMPHRIES: I will take that on notice as well, Mr Speaker.

Mr Colin Dunstan - Bail

MR OSBORNE: My question is to Mr Humphries in his capacity as the Attorney-General. Mr Humphries, on Friday of last week Colin Dunstan, the man who sent 28 parcel bombs through Australia Post, one of which injured several people when it exploded in the Canberra Mail Exchange, was successful in his appeal over being held on remand and was subsequently released on bail. I noted in an article in the Canberra Times last Saturday that you have taken the unusual step as a Minister of becoming involved in this matter. According to the newspaper article, you have asked the Director of Public Prosecutions, Richard Refshauge, to consider whether there are any circumstances upon which to appeal the decision to grant bail to Mr Dunstan. The ACT Law Reform Commission released a discussion paper in December of last year entitled "Bail: A Proposal for Legislative Reform". The paper contained a range of suggestions regarding who should and who should not be eligible for bail, including that a person who is arrested for committing an offence with either violence or a weapon should not be allowed bail except under the most exceptional circumstances. Minister, could you tell me whether Mr Refshauge has considered the details of Colin Dunstan's bail and informed you of his findings? Are you aware of the Law Reform Commission's report? Do you agree with their call for reforming bail procedures in the ACT?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Osborne for that question. I am certainly concerned about the nature of the situation that has arisen in this matter, and I make no secret of the fact - indeed, it has been reported in the media - that I have spoken to the Director of Public Prosecutions about the option of an appeal in this matter. I should correct one small reference in your question. You made reference to Mr Dunstan having sent a number of explosive items through the mail. I should say that it is alleged that Mr Dunstan sent a number of items through the mail. That is a matter that, no doubt, will be determined by a court in due course.

But, whether it is alleged or whether it actually happened, the fact remains that the charges Mr Dunstan is facing are extremely serious charges and I, as Attorney-General, was concerned about the decision that he be allowed bail in these circumstances. I am grateful to the Director of Public Prosecutions for agreeing to consider whether an appeal is available to be launched. He has not as yet advised me whether he considers that there is a basis for an appeal and whether an appeal would be launched, but I am happy to advise Mr Osborne if and when that advice comes back to me.

I am also aware of the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission on this question. I have to say that my support for a number of the recommendations in the commission's report is stronger today than it has been before. I believe that it is

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