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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 615 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

The ACT Democrats welcome the government's sentencing review and will judge any recommendations that result from this on their merits. In the meantime, I hope that this predictable crime and sentencing debate ceases, and that the government seeks out sensible, rational and practical solutions to crime prevention.

I am interested in the comments made by the Attorney-General just before he left this chamber, when he said that he does not like giving in to the crowd and following the opposition's suggestion that we just introduce the same laws as New South Wales has. I find this very interesting considering the debate we had yesterday, in which we just picked up a piece of legislation that was being implemented elsewhere, and took it upon ourselves to introduce it in the territory without really considering the impact it will have here. We did not really take the time to think about people making political protests, who are now going to be persecuted under this new law.

MR SPEAKER: I would like to welcome Melba High School year 9 students to our Assembly.

MR PRATT (11.39): Mr Speaker, I support the motion. The existing policy of bail laws has had a demonstrably major impact on crime. A major factor in this is the fact that recidivist offenders are detained pending trial. Reviews are not needed to prove this. What is happening is clearly a case of good, workable, current policy. For example, I am pleased that in Brindabella there have been measurable improvements in the decline of crime rates.

To water down the current provisions would not only be dangerous to the community, but also irresponsible. I too hope that the government intends to continue supporting the current provisions.

I congratulate the government on its firmness, demonstrated in this place yesterday, with respect to sensible initiatives taken to combat anthrax and other associated hoax crime offences. I trust this firmness will continue in relation to the Bail Act 2001. I, and the community, hope this demonstrated firmness will also obviate a winding-back of the reforms made to the Crimes Act in 2001.

I do not support jailing people for jail's sake-nobody on this side does. In some cases, detention is simply inappropriate. These things must be determined on a case by case basis. However, for repeat offenders, who continually carry out crimes against the community, detention is appropriate.

Finally, Mr Speaker, it is hoped that the Chief Minister does not hide behind the inappropriate act of silly labelling-using silly tags like "rednecks"-to quietly go soft on crime. If the system works, then do not break it. Community safety is far more important than political ideology.


(Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (11.41): As police minister, I have observed the falling crime rate following Operation Anchorage. I have heard the claims from the police and discussed them. They say that the fall in the crime rate is attributable to intelligence-

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