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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1199 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

We will be tough with crime where toughness is required. Toughness to the tune of at least a 15-year sentence to match the minimum sentences that apply in relation to the offence of arson was appropriate to the bushfire offence. Anybody who suggests that it is not appropriate that the maximum penalty for deliberately setting a bushfire should not equate to the minimum penalty for arson has very skewed values of crime and punishment and the place in law of penalties.

Of course, penalties are always difficult. There always is an element of subjectivity in our approach to them. Probably none of us will ever agree on what may be an appropriate penalty for an offence. That is why in this instance the government had regard to the position adopted by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General through the negotiations for a model criminal code and settled on the penalty which every state and territory plus the Commonwealth felt was appropriate for this offence. We did what the challenge just made to us said that we did not do. We looked at the accepted attitude and view in every state and territory plus the Commonwealth of Australia. That is what we settled on.

I thank those members who support this legislation. I regret the level of misunderstanding that has led some to speak against it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Gaming Machine (Cap) Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 11 April 2002, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (11.24): Mr Speaker, the opposition will support this legislation. This bill provides simply for an extension of the cap on the number of gaming machines operating in the territory until 30 June 2003. The cap is due to expire on 30 June this year, 2002.

Members will recall that the cap has been in place now for a number of years, initially at the behest of Ms Tucker, who argued that a cap should be placed on the number of poker machines while a review of the operation of poker machines in the territory was conducted by the Gambling and Racing Commission.

Mr Speaker, having made the decision to impose a cap, it is logical for the territory to retain that cap until such time as the review is completed. As is the case with a great many exercises of this kind, the process of reviewing the act is taking longer than might originally have been expected. I understand that the commission is due to provide a report of some sort in the latter half of this year, and perhaps the Treasurer can update us on this. The commission has already published a discussion paper containing

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