Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 781 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

What it is saying is that, firstly, there was a process in the ACT Legislative Assembly whereby the Government, which has a minority of members in it, decided not to take particular action.

Mr Moore: No, they tried to consult.

MS TUCKER: Mr Moore interjects that they tried to consult. "Tried" is the operative word here. I do not recall having a briefing on this issue from Mr Humphries. Mr Humphries did not successfully involve all members of the Assembly in that decision. He may have said he was loath to legislate. That does not mean "I will not legislate". I would read that to mean that Mr Humphries does not like it but he is getting the numbers. He is asking other people what they feel about it. Obviously, Mr Stanhope expressed his view on that issue. I do not recall being asked. Apparently Mr Osborne was asked, as chair of the Justice and Community Safety Committee. If Mr Humphries, as a member of a minority government, had involved the whole Assembly at that time, we would not now be having this discussion about whether we are prepared to support this particular type of retrospectivity, in that it is resurrecting liability. So, that has to be part of the context of this decision that we made. Basically, there was a stuff-up at that point in a minority government in the ACT Assembly.

We are now looking at the actual issue. The actual issue that I have been asked to look at here today is about justice. I know - not as a legal person but as someone who has listened to different legal opinions - how important is the issue of retrospectivity. We have received letters from legal people with a different opinion from Mr Humphries - - -

Mr Humphries: On this issue?

MS TUCKER: On this issue, yes - that, in fact, an arbitrary and inflexible timeframe is an impediment to justice, that in this case in the interest of justice it is fair enough to put in place this legislation so that if people were guilty of a particular crime they would have to face the consequences of that, because this is basically a procedural matter. That is the legal opinion that counters Mr Humphries' legal opinion.

Mr Humphries: Mr Speaker, I wonder whether I could ask Ms Tucker to table those legal opinions she is referring to. I have not seen them.

MS TUCKER: It was in the Canberra Times. There was a letter to the Canberra Times from Hugh Selby. You can find it. I have not got it here. I thought he was pretty big in the Law Society and was not known for his radical views - quite conservative, in fact. We do have different views on this issue within the community. We as legislators have to look at the issues that are of concern to the community and we do get differing views on where we have the ability to find a solution that is just, and that is what we are talking about. Mr Humphries is talking about civil liberties - that is what he is focusing on right now - in terms of whether this is a just action or a just piece of legislation.

That is one view. That is one aspect of it. I have listened to that and I am concerned about civil liberties being impinged upon. But I am also concerned about the legal system in Australia delivering justice. I know that there is growing concern in the

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .