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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4255 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

against or verballed because of the less argument. You cannot sustain a payment of more per instant because there is a possibility of more instances, particularly for police who are trained and have an expectation that there might be some rough times in what they do. This is idiotic.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (1.45 am): I share the same concerns as Ms Tucker, Mr Kaine and Mr Quinlan. There are, in this group of amendments that flow from the proposal to amend proposed new section 9(2), some very serious concerns about the nature of the proposals that we have before us. They actually change the entire Bill fundamentally. This is a fundamental change to the scheme that the Attorney has been supporting because it does create a hierarchy of victims.

All of a sudden the Assembly is being asked to say, "Let's put a certain group of victims on a pedestal. Let's give a certain group of victims an advantage". We name them. In Mr Rugendyke's hierarchy of claim we have the police, ambulance officers and firefighters. All are people in the community that we depend on. We have in the ACT a very professional and expert police force, ambulance officers and firefighters. Then, under this proposal, we go on and add a group of people who suffer as a result of offences under certain provisions of the Crimes Act in relation to sexual offences, and that is it.

A decision has been made by Mr Rugendyke, and it seems to be supported by the Government, that these four groups of people within the Canberra community are the only people in this community deserving of maximum support as victims of crime. The rest of the community, the mums and dads, people working in shops, people working in service stations, people going about their business, people attacked outside nightclubs, kids attacked on buses, are secondary victims. These are second-class victims. The child that is a paraplegic or a quadriplegic as a result of a beating is a secondary victim. That child is not as worthy or as demanding of compensation or of care as a policeman or an ambulanceman, and there is such a case. We spoke about it earlier. A boy, innocently going about his life and beaten within an inch of his life, is now a quadriplegic. Mr Rugendyke and the Government do not think this boy is as deserving of this community's concern and resources as are Mr Rugendyke's former colleagues in the police force. Well, there is no way in the world - - -

Mr Humphries: Who is being emotive now, Jon?

MR STANHOPE: I am being shamelessly emotive because this is disgraceful. It is disgraceful that this Assembly should set up a hierarchy of victims. Certain groups of victims are more deserving of community support than other victims, and who leads the hierarchy of victims? Mr Rugendyke's former colleagues in the police force.

Mr Humphries: And firefighters and ambulance officers.

MR STANHOPE: And ambulance officers and firefighters, and that is it.

Mr Humphries: And victims of sexual assault.

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