Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 769 ..
Mr Berry: I'll bet you haven't!
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Berry, this is a very serious subject and you are making light of it. It is not a joke, Mr Berry; it is serious. I would ask you to listen to what I have to say.
Mr Berry: Table the document and be truthful with us.
MR HUMPHRIES: I have not got a document to table.
Mr Berry: Give us all the information.
MR HUMPHRIES: I will give you the information when it comes to hand, Mr Berry, I can assure you.
Mr Berry: No, give it to us now.
MR HUMPHRIES: I have not got the information.
Mr Berry: Well, don't use the argument if you haven't got the information.
MR SPEAKER: Order, please!
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, returning to my argument: I hope others are listening to this debate very carefully. The question could arise, potentially, if the information I have been given, mostly verbally, turns out to be the case, that is, the question of whether we should remove a limitation period - - -
Mr Berry: If it turns out to be the case.
MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, it is probably hypothetical, but it most likely is not, Mr Speaker. In other words, my advice at this stage is that this is a real issue. There are people who may be capable of being charged now but for a limitation period. If members urged people in this place to bring forward legislation to remove the period of immunity, remove the limitation period, on prosecutions under this legislation, would we pass that legislation?
Mr Berry: It is entirely hypothetical.
MR HUMPHRIES: It is a real issue. The point I make is that if we pass this legislation today and impose a criminal liability retrospectively, other identical or similar cases will come forward which we will have to consider. Are we prepared to recriminalise actions which have ceased to be criminal pursuant to limitation periods and other pieces of legislation as well? If we do it today, why should we not do it in those cases as well? Do not assume that this is the last time that we will have to consider this issue and that we can forget about it in the future. We cannot.