Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3968 ..
MR STEFANIAK (6.03), in reply: Let me address a basic furphy that the Chief Minister is propagating in relation to offensive weapons. It is quite clear that he has not read the explanatory statement. He has actually questioned the ability of the legislative draftsmen, who have done an excellent job here in replicating exactly what is intended by the Law Reform Commission in relation to section 8 of the act. I am not going to read it all out, but on page 2 of the explanatory statement I list exactly what the commission recommends, including what it means by an offence committed by an accused person in relation to using a weapon capable of causing death or serious injury or a replica.
Page 4 of the explanatory statement prepared for me by our excellent legislative draftsmen states, so as best to describe the nature of these offences, see the Law Reform Commission's proposed section 8 (3), which is what I have referred to as indicating exactly what is meant by "offensive weapon"and it is in line with the existing provisions of the Crimes Act for armed robbery, section 92, and aggravated burglary, section 94. The explanatory statement says that these provisions do not rely on the definition of "offensive weapon"in the dictionary to the act. That is what Mr Stanhope refers to. In my explanatory memorandum I list and then state what "offensive weapon"is described as.
Mr Stanhope needs to read what goes before that in relation to armed robbery and aggravated burglary. He also needs to read what goes before that on page 4 and refer back to the exact wording from the Law Reform Commission. It is arrant nonsense for Mr Stanhope to go off on an absolute tangent and say that this provision is going to cause the police a lot of trouble and everyone is going to get locked up. What absolute nonsense! This amendment of mine, through competent drafting by a very competent part of the government in the Parliamentary Counsel, has faithfully replicated the intention of the Law Reform Commission.
On that score, that is where someone actually uses or threatens to use violence with a weapon capable of causing death or serious injury. The commission had in mind there serious offences like armed robbery, nasty assaults like malicious wounding where people are wounded with a weapon, attempted murder and things like that, as well as aggravated burglary, which was something I put in the legislation in 1994.
Mr Stanhope still has the same hang-up about and misconception of the term "offensive weapon"as he had when we had the debate which put in that more general section on offensive weapons in early 2001. I think he or whoever did it for him really needs to go through it a lot more carefully than has been done because that is just straight misinformation. It is typical of him when we have law and order debates or debates on anything to do with these types of issues to go off on a tangent, see if he can pick some fault, real or imaginary, and hone in on that. He is quite wrong there.
I have, rightly, given Mr Stanhope a bit of a bollocking there, but I will agree with him on one point: yes, this bill is actually a single issue bill, but it goes further than he is proposing. I will give him some credit for proposing to go part of the way, but he is not proposing to go as far as the Law Reform Commission suggested that this Assembly should and introduce exactly what I have introduced here, which would simply reverse the current presumption in favour of bail for the crimes of treason or murder and for very