Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2609 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
When one has regard to section 347, and the period of imprisonment that is deemed the equivalent of a fine of $5,000 or 50 penalty units, two years is a more appropriate maximum penalty. When one considers it with other types of offences, the comparison probably reflects on what Ms Gallagher is trying to do.
In the first section I wish to amend, 55B, with regard to the five-year penalty currently stipulated, 10 years, which I am suggesting, is the maximum penalty for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, say for someone who drew blood or committed an assault such as a punch in the nose. Dealing with backyard abortions is something Mr Berry has mentioned and was very concerned about in his comments. Obviously, he wants to see registered medical practitioners carry out the procedure, as does everyone, I am sure.
It is a very serious matter, and to equate the maximum penalty for that offence with that for the fairly average crime of assault occasioning actual bodily harm probably is not appropriate. It is a bit more serious than that, and I think 10 years is more appropriate. It does also reflect some of the penalties under the old Crimes Act, which has now been repealed. Accordingly, I commend my two amendments to the Assembly. I think they will make for a better law.
MR BERRY (9.35): Mr Deputy Speaker, just a moment ago there was passionate support for what has become known as the Osborne bill. Now I see that Mr Stefaniak springs upon us the need to increase these penalties. Bill is well known for wanting to increase penalties. He just cannot get it out of his system. However, I wish that he had used the same passion on the penalties that were in the Osborne bill, which are exactly the same as the ones that are in this bill, and for those reasons I will be opposing them.
The maximum penalty for a person who is not a medical practitioner who performs an abortion was five years. In Ms Gallagher's bill it is five years, miraculously. The penalty for not carrying out an abortion in an approved medical facility in Ms Gallagher's bill-50 penalty units and imprisonment for six months, or both-is miraculously the same in the Osborne bill. I really cannot see the need to get involved in a law and order campaign on this one.
MS TUCKER (9.36): The Greens will not be supporting these amendments either. We have not had very much notice to even consider them, and have not heard any convincing arguments in their favour at this point.
MR STEFANIAK (9.36): I will close the debate if no-one else wants to speak. I note Mr Berry's comments. I had a talk with Ms Gallagher and I think none of us were sure where this came from. I did notice, later, I must say, going through the Osborne bill, that there it was in section 6. Mr Berry has actually spent a lot of time bagging the Osborne bill, and I think it is somewhat ironic that he is now saying, "If it is there in the Osborne bill, it must be all right."
The Osborne act is one with which he has had huge problems, and it was an act which I also indicated in my speech was amended on the floor of the house. I reiterate what I said: if that was in the Osborne bill, I do not think it was consistent with other legislation. It could have been improved. It is surprising that I did not notice that several