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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 472 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

I looked at this, too, Mr Hargreaves, and, like you, I was thinking of penalties. There are probably better ways to go, either the way I have just suggested or perhaps along the lines you are suggesting: that when you actually sign the contract, that is it. It is something that is occurring, and it is not going to go away. It is something that I think we very clearly need to look at.

Might I suggest, until we come up with a solution-in several months; I hope it will not be all that much longer-a practice that I quite like, which is a buyer range. For example, you could have a property go for between $240,000 and $310,000. It has struck me, anecdotally, that that is less likely to result in gazumping than where there is a set price.

There is not much property for sale, so someone comes in pretty quickly and offers a set price. Then someone bumps it up by $20,000 or $30,000. That is just a thought, and it would only be a temporary measure. But that seems to be a slightly fairer way of doing things than the current system.

The opposition are very keen to see the practice counted. It is something that rightfully causes angst to a lot of people, and it is not fair practice. If you say, "I want this for my property,"and someone offers you that, you should take it. Indeed many people do, but there are always people who are not going to do that, who are not quite as scrupulous, and people suffer as a result.

I know a number of people who have suffered and, at the very least, I would like to see those people compensated for any financial loss they have incurred as a result. I commend those ideas to the Assembly.

MR SPEAKER: This discussion is concluded.

Confiscation of Criminal Assets Bill 2002

Debate resumed.

MS DUNDAS (4.05): The idea of confiscation of criminal assets is in itself a complex issue, as is the specific area this amendment relates to, which is art and artistic profits as benefits. As we address this whole issue, we need to consider what lies at the core of our legal system: the principles of innocent until proven guilty and of incarceration as not just punishment but also rehabilitation and, within this context, the agreement that we reached in the in-principle stage that criminals should not profit from crime.

The current bill proposes that art will be a proceed of crime until determined otherwise. The exemptions that the Attorney-General waxed on about are not the default situation. The court must determine that these exemptions apply. This bill does not apply to people who have committed crimes against the person; it also applies to fraud, property crime and the like.

If someone does their time and wishes to undertake some artistic expression that relates to their experiences, this cannot be exhibited in a way that might attract money or resources. A book cannot be sold and a piece of art cannot be exhibited in a fee-paying exhibition, because it will automatically be judged a proceed of crime.

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