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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (3 April) . . Page.. 1345 ..

Sentencing legislation

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, according to page 7 of today's Canberra Times you said that Canberra was not the same as Sydney and, just because the New South Wales premier, Bob Carr, introduced legislation, did not mean that it should be the same here. Can you please explain why a person convicted of armed robbery in Sydney, Wollongong, Queanbeyan or Cooma should be treated differently from a person convicted of a similar or identical armed robbery in Canberra?

MR SPEAKER: Order! The question anticipates debate on legislation that you have before the chamber.

MR STEFANIAK: I would not think so.

MR SPEAKER: I think that it does.

Mr Stanhope: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. It does. The comments I made today were made in the context of a bill introduced by Mr Stefaniak yesterday. How Mr Stefaniak can stand here today and ask a question on a comment I made about his bill and for it not to go to his legislation is beyond me. The question is directly related to legislation introduced yesterday and is out of order.

MR STEFANIAK: On the point of order: If Mr Stanhope were to read page 7, he would see that that comment was attributed to him. He went on to discuss a part of the bill. I am not asking about that.

MR SPEAKER: Resume your seat, Mr Stefaniak. I rule that the question is anticipating debate.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome

MRS CROSS: My question was to be to the Minister for Health but, in his absence, I assume that I can ask it of the Chief Minister. Minister, no doubt you are aware of the disturbing media reports concerning severe acute respiratory syndrome, also known as SARS, and its rapid spread through Asia. Have you had any contact with, or do you know whether your colleague Mr Corbell has had any contact with, the federal Health Minister? What, if any, contingency plans have been initiated to ensure that there is a coordinated Commonwealth and territory response to this frightening pandemic? In your answer, Chief Minister, could you please indicate whether you are aware of any SARS cases in Australia and whether you consider that the ACT is sufficiently equipped to deal with any cases that arise here?

MR STANHOPE: I do not have detailed information around the steps that Mr Corbell, as minister, may have taken personally. I do have Mr Corbell's question time brief and there is a suggested answer from which I am happy to provide information in answer to the question.

Following the World Health Organisation's global alert concerning an atypical pneumonia known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, ACT Health has intensified its existing communicable disease surveillance system with all ACT hospitals and general

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