Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2774 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

information suggesting that the law as it stands is a hindrance to police, but there is also no shortage of anecdotal information coming to me that some young people are being unfairly picked on by police time and again. I am told by people who are advocating for young people that it is not the case that there is always someone there to represent young people, despite what Mr Stefaniak says.

I really wonder why a government which has claimed credit for setting up an Aboriginal justice advisory group, for example, did not consult it on something like this. It just beggars belief that the government could do that, given the issues for the indigenous community. What is the point of that? Is the government seriously expecting the community to think that it is fine for a government to set up a committee like that but not use it? I find that to be hypocritical and of concern.

In the absence of any hard data indicating that there is a real problem with law enforcement that this amendment would fairly address and with no assurance that problems that young people face in regard to not being represented when they are in the custody of police will be addressed, the Greens cannot support this amendment. It is, once again, an ill-thought-out proposal which may make it easier for the police, but for those of us who are working with people who are disadvantaged and marginalised in the community, it is not a good thing. It is a frightening thing and we have to reject it.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (10.29): I do not want to take up too much time, but these issues are just so important. I want to respond to a couple of things that the Attorney mentioned. One is the point that Mr Kaine made. I just want to add my voice to that. I am concerned that the Attorney would advance as one of the justifications for this amendment a suggestion that the police sometimes have trouble finding the duty magistrate. I am most concerned to hear that our Magistrates Court is organised or administered in such a way that there are times when the police cannot find a magistrate or there is no duty magistrate.

If that is the case, then somebody needs to put a bullet up the Magistrates Court and up whoever it is that is administering it. We have a situation where the Attorney justifies having this sort of provision-taking away a substantial check, namely, that a policeman needs to seek an order from a magistrate-on the basis that sometimes no magistrates are to be found. I just do not think that that is acceptable. It is not acceptable to reduce a child's rights because the police cannot find a magistrate. If the Attorney is telling me that that is how the Magistrates Court is being run, perhaps it is time that we had a bit of a look at the Magistrates Court.

There is another issue to which I need to draw attention, but I do not want to do so at length. I think we need to look at some of the fundamental issues around why it is objectionable to start taking willy-nilly identifying material such as photographs and fingerprints. Mr Kaine alluded to that and there is a very good discussion of it, as I mentioned before, on page 9 of the scrutiny report. It is perhaps worth my going to something that I did not want to so as not to take up the time of the Assembly. The views that have been expressed concern me to the extent that I feel the need to read into Hansard the views of, for instance, the Australian Law Reform Commission, which did a seminal study of this issue that goes to the nub of why, in a society such as

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .