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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2771 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Young people are intimidated enough by being in custody without the added pressure of police officers demanding identifying material without justification and without a court order. We have here a change to the law without any justification being presented and without the requirement that the police obtain an order which can be obtained by telephone. We do know that there are particular difficulties once children do become involved with the police and the criminal justice system. Children that are so involved have various problematic backgrounds and they do behave in very antisocial ways. This sort of treatment is going to do absolutely nothing to facilitate a more embracing or caring approach to the problems of these young offenders. There is just no justification for saying that the police need to take these additional steps in relation to children. Clause 5 should be opposed by members.

There is much in the scrutiny report in relation to this issue of the taking of identifying material. I must commend the scrutiny report for its coverage of the issues in relation to this matter. It is an excellent report, to the extent that it contains a wide-ranging discussion of very relevant issues in relation to all of the proposals in this bill. There is an interesting discussion on page 9 of the scrutiny of bills committee report in relation to the background of proposals about the taking of this sort of identifying material. I will conclude on this point: the Australian Law Reform Commission, in its consideration of the issue, made the finding and the recommendation fundamentally that this is not a course of action that should be adopted. Certainly, if it is, there needs to be very significant justification for doing so, a justification that has not been provided in this instance.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (10.16): My officers have reminded me that I did discuss a number of these things with Mr Madden, with whom I worked for a number of years through the DPP. Indeed, we were discussing some Children's Court matters only the other day. I must say that, apart from some differences that I have with him in terms of some of his views, he is doing an excellent job. I like the way he got out to see all the youth groups and the various agencies of government when he took up his role. Certainly, I have had disagreement with him in a couple of areas. I have known him for many years and I have been highly impressed by some of the things he has done. Also, might I assure the Leader of the Opposition that I have talked to quite a few people, including members of the judiciary, about these matters over a number of years, not just in the time taken for this bill to be worked up.

In terms of Mr Stanhope's specific points, it is often very difficult for police to get such an order from a magistrate. I think that is why they brought on this one. It is not just a matter of making a phone call; there is more to it than that. Even if it is simply a matter of making a phone call-sometimes a phone call to a magistrate is sufficient to obtain a warrant-it is not necessarily easy to do so because magistrates simply are not always available, and for very good reason because police often need warrants 24 hours a day.

Mr Stanhope mentioned Magistrate Madden. I am getting a bit too old to play in fifth grade these days, but fairly recently I was helping out the universities club, of which I am patron, by running the line at Griffith. They were playing Easts. Shane Madden was the referee. We were a bit late starting the second half because a police car turned up trying to track him down on a Saturday. I am not sure what it was, but he had to go

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