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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2773 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

It is not intrusive; it is absolute common sense. Why on earth would you really want to oppose it? I have given you statistics on that. Whilst the vast majority of 16 and 17-year-olds, just like the vast majority of 80-year-olds, 20-year-olds or whatever, are law-abiding citizens, unfortunately there are some who are not. There are appropriate checks and balances in accordance with the fact that they are still juveniles, but those statistics certainly warrant this reasonable and non-intrusive procedure being taken. I strongly commend the provision to members.

MR RUGENDYKE (10.22): I have given a lot of careful consideration to this amendment to the Children and Young People Act and I have put a lot of thought into it. To take the fingerprints and identifying material of 16 and 17-year-olds is a big step. I note that it can be done under the authority of the chief police officer, a superintendent, a sergeant or a police officer authorised in writing by the chief police officer. I note that the protection includes a requirement for parents or people with parental responsibility to be present and that the material will be destroyed after a year has elapsed.

I have looked carefully at the submission of the Youth Coalition in considering this amendment and taken into consideration my experience that a very large number of young people are committing offences and I am inclined to support the taking of such a big step. I trust that the police will exercise these sorts of powers with caution and discretion. I will not be supporting Mr Stanhope.

MR KAINE (10.25): Like Mr Rugendyke, I have had a good look at the issues in connection with young people and children and I have come to the opposite conclusion to him. I listened carefully to what the Attorney-General had to say on this issue. We are talking here about people who are 16 or 17 years old when an offence has allegedly been committed and we are talking about taking fingerprints or photographs of them without a magistrate's approval. The Attorney-General justifies that on the basis that, by doing as this amendment would permit a police officer to do, once in a while you will pick up somebody who had previously committed another offence. How often? Would it be once in 1,000 or once in 5,000? The Attorney-General was quite non-specific about that. I do not think that the fact that you might occasionally pick up somebody for a previous offence is sufficient justification for doing to every person in this category what the Attorney-General is proposing.

The other justification on the part of the Attorney-General, as far as I can gather, was that once in a while when you are trying to find a magistrate or a judge to approve your doing so you might have to catch him at half-time at a football game. That is not sufficient reason, either. I am by no means convinced, unlike Mr Rugendyke, that people of the age of 16 or 17 years ought to be subjected to the treatment that the Attorney-General proposes to dish out to them all on the flimsy bases that he just put forward. I have come to the opposite conclusion, Mr Rugendyke, and I will support Mr Stanhope's amendment to delete this provision from the bill.

MS TUCKER (10.27): I also intend to oppose this clause. I asked the AFP, through the minister's office, whether they could provide figures on the number of instances where the existing law has hindered them. I also asked them how often they had trouble finding a parent or someone else to represent the young person's interests. I have had no answers to those questions. I know that there is no shortage of anecdotal

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