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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (1 May) . . Page.. 1283 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

because the presumption will be that they will not be allowed bail but will remain incarcerated.

This bill also raises some pragmatic issues. Members will be aware that I announced late last week that the Belconnen Remand Centre is more than at capacity. Putting in nearly $1.5 million more, we are able to provide 15 extra beds. It seems to me that this legislation will put even more pressure on the remand centre; that we will still need to move people on remand into New South Wales; that we will probably still need to use the court cells on some occasions. The judiciary is working very hard to avoid this. We are working also to establish and build a new remand centre as part of the prison project. I hope to bring that back to members before the next sitting of the Assembly. I hope to have it through cabinet late in May. So there are some practical issues, and I ask members to keep that in mind that we are working to resolve those.

When we change legislation like this, there are some pragmatic issues. But the most important pragmatic issue is how we stop burglaries occurring in our homes? When you ask whether this legislation is an undue trespass on liberty, I have to say that, as I indicated to Mr Stefaniak some weeks ago, I will be supporting the legislation because it is clear that when somebody has committed a crime and is charged with a crime and they are charged with the same crime yet again something is not working and the community needs our protection.

It was not an easy decision to come to. Mr Stanhope indicated that he also had some difficulty in coming to this conclusion. The scrutiny of bills committee, in providing its advice, concludes by saying:

Is this a circumstance warranting special treatment, or is this step an undue trespass on the personal rights of the accused? The rights in issue are the right to liberty and the presumption of innocence.

It asks a question. The answer to the question is that it does warrant special treatment. It is a policy question put to us. I think the community is saying to us that we need to have more action in this area and we need the power to prevent people from invading other people's homes.

With the same sense of reluctance as Mr Stanhope, but with a sense of purpose and the belief that this is the right decision, I have no hesitation in supporting the legislation from Mr Stefaniak.

MR RUGENDYKE (11.52): I simply wish to record my strong support for this legislation. It is more than timely to look at this issue of bail, particularly for serious and recidivist offenders. For far too long the Canberra community has been frustrated, cynical and concerned about the revolving door attitude that has prevailed over the last couple of decades where serious offenders simply walk in one door and out the other. It is far past the time we should challenge the view that bail should be a right. I fully support the change to the presumption regarding bail.

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