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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 277 ..

MR HARGREAVES (5:05): We have to go back to the definition of robbery. Robbery is theft or larceny with violence. "With violence" should be enough. You do not have to go down the track of defining these things. If I rob someone and I have a set of car keys in my hands, it is up to the policeman to decide whether I was using the car keys to nick off-

Mr Stefaniak: It is up to the court.

MR HARGREAVES: It is not up to the court. It is up to the prosecutor to lay the charge. It is up to the arresting officer to decide whether the car keys in my hand were to be used to hop in my car and get away or as a knuckleduster to inflict violence on somebody. It is unnecessary.

I suspect that the government will not go along with these amendments because Mr Stanhope put them up. Instead of saying, "We will not go along with this," they should recognise that Mr Stanhope is qualified at law, as two learned people opposite are. He is supporting the intent of the legislation and he is pointing up what, to him, is a loophole. They should be saying, "We can see some measure of compromise coming from the other side."

There is confusion. We are trying to give to the police a discretion which they do not need in the course of making an arrest. The Attorney-General, as a former police prosecutor, would know that they do not need that. There are plenty of offences on the statute books at the moment. All the police have to do is arrest somebody in the commission of a crime and then book them according to the crimes on the statute book. There are plenty at the moment without having to go to this level of prescription or this level of discretion. On top of that, as the Attorney-General well knows, police already have a discretion at common law. We do not need to give them the opportunity to play around with interpretation.

This is unnecessary. I urge Mr Moore to change his mind. I urge Mr Moore to consider again whether the government is opposed to these amendments just because Mr Stanhope put them up. I urge Mr Moore to consider the argument that we do not really need this stuff. There is enough confusion as it is.

The definition of robbery is theft or larceny with the threat of violence. That should be enough. The government is not supporting the amendments because Mr Stanhope proposed them. Mr Moore is being pedantic, semantic and petty about it. I am surprised at the Attorney-General. There are occasions in this place when I feel that he is the only one with any commonsense sitting on the frontbench opposite, and I have said so before, particularly when it relates to such things as corrections. I withhold that view about Mr Moore at the moment. I do not think Mr Moore has had time to prove himself incompetent about that, but I am sure he will endeavour to do his best.

I would urge the Attorney-General to think for a second. Why make a mountain out of a molehill? Acknowledge the fact that there may be a point here and say, "Okay, let us concur with Mr Stanhope, and let us not just be pug-nosed and oppose the amendments for the sake of it."

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