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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 2494 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

The dodger over there can shake his head as much as he likes, I do not care, but he knows that what I am saying is true. If police officers do not have the information to put before a magistrate, the person should not be presented. A person should not be presented before the courts if the police officers do not have enough information to have bail refused. This is just an easy cop-out and you are taking away from the judiciary the power to withdraw somebody's liberty, their freedom. You are taking it away from them. You are responsible for it.

Mr Rugendyke: He trusts the judiciary more than he trusts the police; that is what he is saying.

MR HARGREAVES: In response to the accusation that I do not trust the police, I say that Mr Rugendyke has no faith in the judiciary, none whatever. He can sit there smirking and throw those sorts of insults across the chamber with impunity, but he has not got the courage to stand up here and justify his position. I think that this is an appalling piece of legislation.

MR RUGENDYKE (4.22): I had better stand up and justify my position. I will be wholeheartedly supporting this piece of wonderful legislation to close loopholes that have been discovered, to tighten up the situation, to make sure that recidivists are not out on the loose when they should be in remand. It is a privilege to support this legislation, which does the job of making the bail system working in the way the people of our community like to see it working, whereby people are put inside when there is knowledge that they will be reoffending or they have reoffended when they are on bail; it is that simple. Let us have a great deal of confidence in our police force using this legislation wisely, as I know they will. I am glad to let Mr Hargreaves know my position, since he specifically asked me to do so.

MS TUCKER (4.23): The Greens will oppose this bill, as we did with the first bail amendment bill. This bill redefines the presumption against bail so that it will apply to all people whose charges on serious offences are pending, not only those who are the subject of a bail agreement. Mr Stefaniak says that the proposal before us today will loosen the unduly restrictive criteria for presuming against bail, so it seems that this change was not simply about sending a message with no effect, as Mr Stefaniak presented it originally.

Mr Stefaniak downplays the net widening, saying that it will improve the operation by removing an unnecessary distinction between alleged offenders on bail. However, Mr Stanhope sees it as a significant change, so significant that he will vote against it this time. The Labor Party's policy was, in fact, to retain the presumption in favour of bail for all offences, so I am glad to see Labor drawing the line somewhere. Is there really such an important difference here, though? There are a few options open to courts when someone is first charged with an offence. The act, even without the presumption against bail provision, required assessment of a number of factors. Unfortunately, Mr Rugendyke has not addressed any of those issues on either occasion that we have debated this legislation. I think that it shows a lack of consideration of the issues if a member stands up to show support for a position without in any way addressing the concerns that have been put in this place by other members. That is a very inadequate response.

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