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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2762 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

It has long been a fundamental premise of our law that once an accused person has been acquitted following a jury trial that that is the end of the matter and the accused person may not and should not be put on trial again.

The Bar Association opposes the wholesale abrogation of this fundamental principle without a truly demonstrated need for change.

That is the language of the Bar Association. Similarly, the Legal Aid Commission expressed concerns at a whole range of changes proposed in this legislation. I have referred to just some of the responses that were received from organisations that were not consulted. With the Attorney's insistence on including in his crime working party only police, members of the Police Association and representatives of the DPP, he of course got a bill which reflected the particular position of those organisations. Surprise, surprise! He did not have anybody on the working party to suggest that there is a range of other competing interests that always need to be protected and considered in any change to the criminal law.

I have some concerns about the obvious targets of some of the amendments and the quite deliberate intent to focus on certain aspects of the administration of the law. In a way it is a beat-up. They are amendments for which there is absolutely no demonstrated need-amendments in relation to new powers of entry for the police, amendments in relation to powers of search, amendments in relation to dealing with young people of the ages of 16 and 17. There is absolutely no evidence that in relation to any of these issues there is a problem. At the detail stage I will go to the detail of our concerns in relation to a whole raft of measures included in the bill. I will have quite a bit more to say on it.

There are significant aspects of the bill we do support, there are aspects that we cannot support and will not support, and there are some provisions that we seek to amend to ameliorate the unacceptable aspects of the government's amendments. On balance, I can probably say that we support half of the bill, we will oppose a quarter of it, and we will seek to amend the other quarter.

MS TUCKER (9.44): This is an omnibus bill that includes some desirable initiatives, some dubious initiatives and some positively unwelcome initiatives. Of the desirable initiatives, the Greens support the changes regarding the care and protection of intoxicated persons. We are also supportive of the introduction of provision for inquiries into convictions.

The most interesting thing about this set of amendments lies in how narrowly they are informed, as Mr Stanhope said, demonstrating to those who are interested that this government is quite arbitrary in how it consults with the community and with whom it consults, despite all its bland posturing about listening to the community.

This government has never been embarrassed about its enthusiasm for policy development by numbers. Given that we may end up with four or five ex-policemen in the next Assembly, it appears a pretty reasonable proposition that the ACT Liberal Party wants to firm up support from the law and order lobby.

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