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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2802 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The Attorney has provided no justification for this reduction in standard. Mr Osborne touched on this before. I am the shadow Attorney-General and the Leader of the Opposition, yet I have not been approached by the AFPA, a single member of the Australian Federal Police or anybody with a suggestion that the police cannot handle the fact that they can arrest only on the basis of a reasonable belief and that they need the standard to be lowered so that they need only reasonably suspect. The Attorney has not provided any evidence that this is a problem. He has not provided any examples of situations in which the police cannot cope with existing powers.

These are such fundamental principles in relation to the operation of the criminal law that they should not be toyed with in this way without serious investigation and inquiry and without full consultation. As I said before, on such a fundamental issue as this, the Attorney did not consult the Bar Association. He did not consult the Law Society. He did not consult the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee. He did not consult a single community legal centre. He did not consult the Domestic Violence Crisis Service, the Rape Crisis Service or any of the other women's services around town. He did not consult with any youth advocacy service. He did not consult with the Legal Aid Commission. He did not consult with his magistrates.

He did nothing but ask the AFP, "Would you like us to reduce the standards you have to meet before you can arrest somebody?" Guess what the AFP said. They said, "Oh yes, beauty, ripper." What would you expect them to say, Attorney? You asked the police, "Would you like a section to make it easier for you to arrest people?" Then you said to the DPP, "The AFP think they would like to be able to arrest people on a far lesser standard than is currently applied." They said yes. I have a bit of a bone to pick with the DPP about this. He said, "Oh yes, Bill, mate, give them what they want. Let them have whatever they want. Just agree with them."

Mr Stefaniak: That is pathetic, Jon.

MR STANHOPE: Bill, that is what you did. You consulted the coppers and you consulted the prosecutors, and you ignored everybody else on a fundamental issue. It is disgraceful what you have done in relation to this bill. This is the consulting government! This is the government that consults!

The police ask you to give them what they want, and you do. You ignore everybody else. These issues should have been referred to Mr Osborne's committee. That is where all these issues should have gone, so that there could have been some decent community involvement in what you proposed to do. These adjustments to the powers of the police simply cannot be supported without adequate community consultation and adequate consultation of everybody in this community who has an interest in these issues.

MR HARGREAVES (12.53 am): I would like to ask one question of the Attorney-General through you, Mr Speaker. This Assembly commissioned an inquiry into policing services for the ACT, to find out whether or not those services were adequate. Why is it that that inquiry was ignored when you have such fundamental changes being mooted here tonight?

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