Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4067 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
not think will necessarily add to the legislation and, accordingly, we have some concerns, which I will elaborate on in the detail stage.
Generally, the opposition will be supporting this bill. I would ask the Chief Minister to take on board, if at all practicable, the comments of the Bar Association. As a former practising lawyer, I can appreciate that there are some very real problems associated with the ability to represent clients. Although the law is changing, there are still differences between jurisdictions, with some of the code operating in some areas and in some other areas not due to operate until 2006.
MRS CROSS (11.00): Mr Speaker, Australia is indeed a wonderful place, but one of the disadvantages of our federation is that inconsistencies which should not occur arise between the various jurisdictions. The criminal law is one of those areas, and the advent of the model criminal code project is an attempt to redress that. As pointed out in the Attorney's tabling speech, the passing of this bill will see the ACT entering the second stage of the criminal code project that began in September last year with the Criminal Code 2001. I broadly support the need to standardise our criminal law in Australia and I congratulate the government on undertaking this mammoth task.
I note, Mr Speaker, that the Greens have circulated an amendment that seeks to clarify legitimate protest and industrial action unintendedly caught by the provisions of the code, particularly as they pertain to acts of terrorism or sabotage. I am advised that the provisions concerning terrorism and sabotage in the model criminal code were in fact written before the tragic events of September 11 and the Bali bombings. In that context, I believe that concerns over the drafting of the definitions of terrorism and sabotage were done at a less emotive time and could not be rightly said to have been intended to catch legitimate protest and industrial action.
That being said, I believe one of the hallmarks of our democracy is the capacity for people to engage in legitimate industrial action and process. To the extent that the Greens' amendment does this, it attracts my support and I will be supporting the amendment and the bill.
MS DUNDAS (11.02): The ACT Democrats will also be supporting the introduction of this criminal code. This bill is the most recent stage in the enormous task of codifying common law offences and trying to get uniformity across the six states, two territories and the Commonwealth in our approach to crime. This project has taken some time. I understand it was started over 15 years ago with the Hon. Lionel Bowen, the then federal Attorney-General, and we expect completion some time around 2006.
The model criminal code is driven by two central aims: that of codification and uniformity. Understandably, there is a strong desire for certainty and equality before the law in all jurisdictions, a need to respond to interstate and international crime, and a need to reduce the potential for cost arising out of interstate legislation. So we have undertaken this ambitious task and we must acknowledge that we have all signed up for certainty and equality before the law.
As I have raised in the past, our current Attorney does not badge himself with a "tough on crime"agenda. Nor has the ACT been subject to the crass "law and order"debates that we witness in other states and which are part of the current New South Wales state