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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (7 August) . . Page.. 2496 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Mr Moore said in his earlier speech that he had addressed those issues, that he had weighed up the civil liberties issues against the crime and the risk to the community, and came out in favour of supporting this legislation of the Liberals. My real concern is that he knows, as do most people in this place, I believe, that if we looked seriously at the social issues at the root of crime in the community we would want to see greater emphasis on and a greater commitment to dealing with those issues by the government of the day. This kind of legislation is a cop-out. It is about a government saying, "We care about crime and this is what we are going to do. It is too bad if it means a diminution of civil liberties, because we know that we need to act and we are being pretty tough on this question." That is a cop-out. We should be having a total commitment to looking at the issues at the basis of the crime.

Mr Moore, to give him credit, has done a lot of work over the years on looking at drug law reform and dealing with particular issues that are the basis of most of our crime. However, I still do not think it is acceptable, given the lack of commitment from the rest of the government, for the government to proceed with this kind of response. I am sorry that Mr Moore supported it, because it is not the answer and it is a diminution of the civil liberties of our community. I think it is dangerous and I hope that a future Assembly will move to repeal these sorts of unsophisticated responses to these issues.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (4.30): On this issue of civil liberties, as with previous matters of civil liberties, I am entitled to step aside from the government. I read this piece of legislation prior to its going to cabinet and chose not to step aside on it. The reason I chose not to step aside, and we have heard the arguments for civil liberties put quite eloquently by other members of the Assembly, is similar to the one for the previous bail amendment bill.

First of all, we are talking about serious offences; that is the most important thing. Secondly, we are talking about somebody who is alleged to have committed a serious offence. What is more important, we are not talking about removing a magistrate's right to make a decision. The magistrate still has the right to make a decision. But what has changed, and members have correctly put their perspective on it, is the presumption of guilt. That is a serious matter. We know that the vast majority of people who are committing burglaries are dependent on heroin and that they are being driven to commit further serious crimes of burglary, armed robbery and so on.

We are talking about serious matters and I have to say that the decision has been difficult for me. I hear the arguments of those opposite. Contrary to other members of the Assembly, I am not interested in doing a law and order thing for the next election. I have made it clear that I am not standing in the next election, although I think that this is the first time I have mentioned it in the house. I am interested in ensuring that we take the best steps to make our community safe.

One of the things we should be doing is providing a supervised injecting room. Another thing we should be doing is trialling the provision of pharmaceutical heroin. I think that this is a policy matter that we ought to have been able to decide in this Assembly without the interference of the current Prime Minister, who I think is responsible, amongst other things, for the break-ins to a series of cars at the front of my house on the weekend. I do, because we should have been providing pharmaceutical heroin for these people.

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