Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4739 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
falling back to 212 in 2000. But the ratio of police officers to serious crimes fell over one half (from over 0.1 to a little over 0.05). This was because the rate of serious crime has risen dramatically from above 1,600 per 100,000 population to almost 4,000. Nevertheless the ratio of imprisonment to serious crime fell by about a quarter during the same period, and that of imprisonment to violent crime fell by 90%. Jennifer Buckingham (2001) says we cannot be sure how much of this is because of leniency in sentencing, and how much this is because of lower arrest and conviction rates.
Whatever the reason, fear of a substantial prison sentence is no longer the deterrent to crime it once was-criminals know that even if they are caught and convicted, there is a good chance of a soft sentence. The public knows this, but if this obvious fact is ever mentioned, the elites resort to the tactic of branding or labelling the opposition, but not themselves. The critic is frequently categorised by the pejorative term, loved by the American elites,
And, indeed, our Chief Minister-
Does that ring a bell?
Or if the issue is raised by a radio talkback host, he becomes a "shock jock".
Members, I support a tightening-up, as I believe do the majority of people in the ACT. The inference to be made from the submissions received and quoted by Mr Stefaniak-72 out of 75 supported a tougher sentencing approach-is that we must look very seriously at this matter. Clearly, whilst the law may be being upheld in the ACT, we do not believe that justice is being done to the law-abiding citizens, who are the majority.
MR HARGREAVES (8.47): I thank the members opposite for their diatribe. The extent of venom in their speeches and the way in which they viciously attacked the crossbench do them no credit at all. I do not believe that there is one modicum of compassion in the people on that side of the chamber. I do not think that these people have got the foggiest idea about what restorative justice principles are.
In fact, Mr Speaker, I might suggest to you that they get it mixed up with a desire on certain people's part for revenge. There is no restoring people to the community. There is no such thing as restoring the community after it has been damaged. There is no such consideration of the third victim in this, which is the family of the perpetrators. That all goes out the window. All they are talking about is jacking it up.
It would be the same as taking a finger off every time you get a driving offence. It is absolutely stupid; it does not work. It is recognised corrections theory that harsher sentences do not deter criminals. There are more of them being bred every day, and what we need to do is go down the prevention track. Embracing this absolute gut-wrenching need for revenge and criticising viciously everybody that stands in the way does not do anybody any credit at all.
Mr Cornwell talked about the anti-justice lobby. What an absolute screaming bucketful of rot that was. I will tell you who the anti-justice lobby is, Mr Speaker. It is that crowd