Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1656 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
Had you been listening to my initial speech, I indicated a number of situations where CSOs are a sensible option. Clearly, there is considerable benefit in their being used by the courts. At no stage did I say that CSOs are not a reasonable option-they obviously are. That is all the more reason for us to ensure they are carried out effectively.
Mr Stanhope, you might also have missed the fact that I thought there was a need for courts to get tough when there were serious breaches-basically, breaches which indicate that the person is thumbing their nose at the law. I made it clear too that there are a number of technical breaches. You yourself indicated that, as soon as there is a breach, it is registered. Some of those breaches may well be technical, but others are not.
I thank you for your comments about your sentencing review. I made some comments on that-that it looks at only part of the sentencing issue, which is always complex. You and I will probably agree on that, at least. However, in respect of your sentencing review, which certainly looks at non-custodial options, I think you should look at many more options. In doing so, you will obviously be looking at community service orders and issues around them. That is important, to ensure that-hopefully-this rate, which is still high at 25 per cent, can go a bit lower. I would like to see this go down to about 10 per cent. Perhaps we could aim for something like that.
The figure being a quarter of community service orders at this point in time is still fairly high, even given that some of the breaches may well be technical. I certainly would appreciate if you and your department, in your non-custodial review option, would continue to look at the effectiveness of this scheme and how it can be further enhanced. When it works properly, it has considerable benefits for both defendants and for society.
You and I agree on other things in relation to sentencing, such as the fact that there is a need for the courts to get tough. In many instances, there is a need for the courts in the ACT, in serious matters, to be tougher than they are at present. I think that is a view supported by the majority of the community. People sometimes pretend to tear their hair out when they see instances of sentences. They scratch their heads and wonder how the court could possibly have come to that type of conclusion.
No doubt you and I will continue to disagree there. You will probably reject my very sensible sentencing package, which is based largely on that of your very sensible Labor counterpart, Mr Bob Carr.
Mr Stanhope: What, just bung every penalty up and think that is a sentencing approach, Bill? That is a dreadful approach to sentencing.
MR STEFANIAK: No, there are four or five different components of it. Don't show your ignorance here. I suggest you read it.
Mr Stanhope: Mandatory sentencing.
MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Relevance, please.