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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3032 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

which we all take as given in our democracy. That would warrant taking up the time and expense associated with taking on what I would describe as just a very trendy issue.

Mr Hird, not all sections of the Labor Party would necessarily agree with Mr Stanhope's views. On the question you ask on the bill of rights, I would pose the question: what liberties have been removed or even threatened, and why on earth would anyone want to pursue this course of action? Perhaps it is because these people opposite are completely bereft of ideas. For that to be the centre plank of Labor policy is really quite amazing. The ACT is grappling with crime, drug-related issues and community concerns like juvenile behaviour and parental responsibility. I do not think people here are remotely interested in a bill of rights.

It is interesting what other people think of a bill of rights. Of course, we in the ACT are surrounded by New South Wales. I read with great interest yesterday an article by a Mr Bob Carr, the Premier of New South Wales.

Mr Stanhope: The honourable Mr Bob Carr! A bit of respect.

MR STEFANIAK: The honourable, Mr Stanhope. It was very interesting to see what he states in relation to a bill of rights. Mr Carr is a very learned gentleman, and I agree with him on this. I do not think he agrees with Mr Stanhope on it, who has expressed a certain view. Mr Carr states:

A bill of rights does not protect rights. Nor can the courts alone adequately protect them. The protection of rights lies in the good sense, tolerance and fairness of the community. ... A bill of rights will turn community values into legal battlefields.

He says:

A bill of rights will further engender a litigation culture.

He goes on to say:

The main beneficiaries of a bill of rights are the lawyers who profit from the fees and the criminals who escape imprisonment on the grounds of technicality. The main losers are the taxpayers and society in general through the reduction of values to courtroom weapons.

He also states:

A bill of rights is an admission of the failure of parliaments, governments and the people to behave reasonably, responsibly and respectfully.

I agree with Mr Carr on this issue, Mr Hird, and I would think most sensible people would. Mr Lavarch expressed a view today on the matter. That is interesting timing, as Jon Stanhope used to work for Mr Lavarch. Perhaps he is coming to the aid of his colleague in relation to his somewhat strange views on this.

In conclusion, I would say that a bill of rights would result in a greater use of litigation, particularly in criminal appeals. We have only recently passed legislation which will establish for the first time a court of appeal in the territory. It would seem now that Labor

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