Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 369 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
I might draw some attention to the questions here of difference between what we would have put forward in the program and what is being put forward by the Labor Party. I note in particular the legislation concerning the so-called whole-of-government approach to planning. This opposition is deeply concerned about the direction which the government has flagged in planning, and we will see what that planning package evolves as. But we will all be conscious of the fact that much of what has been promised by this government in respect of planning is undeliverable.
I have no doubt that there will be many occasions in the coming months and years when we will come back to reflect on the differences between the legislation as presented and what was promised in the course of the campaign. I also note the reference to the package relating to civil liberties. It should have been no surprise that a winding back of legislation would occur in relation to the previous Assembly. More is the pity that there was no communication in the course of the election campaign to say that this winding back would occur.
After a campaign by Labor dominated by protestations to the government that it was in favour of the safety of the community-that making the community a safer place would be its paramount concern-to see an attempt to wind back a number of pieces of legislation that give the police powers comes as something of a surprise. For some of us on this side of the chamber, perhaps it does not.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I look forward to seeing such legislation come forward. Much of it is legislation that would have come forward under our government as well, but that which is not in that category will be watched with much interest on this side of the chamber.
MR STEFANIAK (4.13): I won't go over areas raised by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Humphries, except the amendments to the Crimes Act 1900 in relation to police powers. Mr Stanhope, the Attorney, has said a prime government concern is community safety. As he indicates here in his draft legislation program, Mr Stanhope wants to modify various police powers-such as entry, arrest and search-and states that his government is concerned that a number of amendments dealing with police powers passed under the previous government unduly infringe the civil liberties of territorians. I quote:
Whilst recognising that police must be given adequate powers with which to do their job, these powers must be balanced with the rights of Territorians to go about their lawful business free from unwarranted interference.
That is exactly what those powers do. Territorians are also very concerned to have the right to go about their business without criminals unduly interfering with them. I think territorians are sick and tired of people and groups who push the civil liberties of the criminal above those of the ordinary, honest, average citizen in this territory. The powers that the previous government gave police brought us into line with other states. They enabled police to have powers of arrest, which are very important: reasonable suspicion as opposed to reasonable belief. Not only did that bring us into line with other states, especially our surrounding state of New South Wales; it enhanced the police's ability to get out there and catch criminals.