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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1208 ..


MR STEFANIAK: I withdraw that. Basically, he said he did not like the things we were doing, and suggested that mandatory sentencing should be introduced. One submission was very much in favour of keeping the status quo, or looking at other methods as well.

Seventy-two out of the 75 submissions being in favour of a tougher approach, not only by the courts but also by necessary amendments to the law, I think speaks volumes. That coincides with a lot of feedback from the community over a number of years.

Both major parties do polling. A not insignificant percentage of the community think that things could be improved. It is our job, as legislators, to reflect proper community values and to change the law where we have to do so. I believe this package does that. It is consistent with New South Wales. Wherever possible, it follows sensible improvements made by the Carr Labor government, in recent times, to the law of New South Wales. I think the Carr Labor government has got it right in relation to a number of aspects.

I am more than happy to brief individual members, over the coming weeks, and answer any questions they may have in relation to this. In some respects, it is fairly complex. None of these issues are simple, and there is some complexity here.

Mr Speaker, again I apologise for not having an explanatory memorandum at this point in time, but I am in the process of doing it. I will circulate that out of session, within the next few weeks, when I have completed it.

I commend the legislation to the Assembly. Should the Assembly pass this legislation, I believe it will have a significant, positive impact on our justice system. It will bring us into line with the state which surrounds us, and will act as a deterrent. In my view, it will make many victims feel a lot more comfortable with our system; it will engender more confidence in our court system and in our system of legislation generally in the community.

I commend the legislation to the Assembly and thank members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Connors inquiry into education funding

MR PRATT (11.00): I move:

That this Assembly expresses disappointment in the ACT Government's appointed Connors Inquiry into education funding in that:

(1) The inquiry reported on issues which this Assembly had already known to be the case, that is, the ACT education system is essentially one of the best in the country and whilst there are issues which need to be addressed these did not need this inquiry to point these out;

(2) The inquiry was therefore unnecessary, a waste of time and a waste of $250,000, money which could have been well spent inside the school gate;

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