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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2390 ..



committee has highlighted that the human rights education program should be funded from internal resources. I would commend my colleague's amendment to the Assembly. Thank you, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, for allowing me to comment on this line item.


(Leader of the Opposition) (11.03): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I move amendment No 3 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 2425]. Mr Stefaniak has made the case for this amendment so I do not think I have to go over it again. We do not believe that money should be put in the budget in this manner. We think it is presumptuous that an act such as the human rights act may be passed by the Assembly.

We think it is an enormous coincidence-and I think comment has already been made about this-that, just after an inquiry recommended that the bill of rights be changed to a human rights act, the government managed to also put in its budget more than $800,000 as resources for the proposed human rights legislation. We believe, given that it really is the role of the department at large to promote all of its acts and all of the things that it is responsible for, that it should-

Mr Stanhope

: What, on the smell of an oily rag? What a joke!


: Well, if there is a problem in the department with its resources, Chief Minister, you have the opportunity to expand its resources. Mr Corbell told us, "We have set our priorities."So you have set a priority that says that proposed human rights legislation resources are more important than breast cancer nurses, dual diagnosis workers for the indigenous community, and age care workers in the migrant community. The community will know how you have set your priorities and you will be judged according to that. That is why I have moved the amendment.


(11.05): I want to make a few comments on this line. We know that restorative justice works for victims of crime and for society as a whole. Also, it reduces the recidivism rate, and the best results are in the area of violent crimes. An ANU study of randomised control evaluation, with evaluation conducted by someone entirely separate from the people conducting the study, showed that there was a reduction in the rate of re-offending violent crime among those who went to a restorative justice conference compared with those who went to court.

I want to raise this issue and say that I would love to see the government take the initiative on this and invest more in this kind of visionary transformative work in the justice system. With a hold on constructing a prison in the ACT, there is certainly an opening for such work here. If we get this part of the justice system working effectively then our offending population will be reduced. If we get it established as the foundation of our justice system, we will have a healthier community.

Similarly, if we, on the basis of carefully designed programs and on the back of careful analysis, put into practice in a big way parenting support-not just a list of child protection measures to cope with emergencies which just cannot keep up anyway, but actual child and parenting support in the very early years when it matters the most-then we could see children growing up healthier in the broader sense of the word, and that is what hard analysis is showing needs to be supported.

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