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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4743 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Then there is the attack on the courts. Mr Cornwell said-I wrote it down, and I guess it will be in Hansard tomorrow-"Justice is not being done to the law-abiding citizen."What an offence that is to people in the courts and to the police.

This system continues-I have to say, for all my efforts as police minister-more or less unchanged in the two years of this government, and I am not sure that there is any change in the courts. All in this community continue to work hard to contain elements that would be lawless and would commit crime.

I suppose it was inevitable that we should have this disturbing debate from Mr Pratt and from Mr Cornwell following the Liberal Party's campaign decision: let's beat up on crime; let's beat up the issue. In the last two or three weeks only, since they must have made that decision, we have heard "soft on crime"mentioned a few dozen times. Yet the facts simply do not support that. But that is irrelevant, of course. For lack of anything else and for a failure to find anything to grab this community as decent coming from the opposition, they resort to this old tactic, which I think is one that will fail.

Mr Cornwell mentioned the "straw man"at one stage, but then he raised a couple of straw issues. I do not know what the death penalty has got to do with anything. He might support it; he has said it many times in this place. I know that. What it had to do with the debate tonight I do not know.

Mr Stanhope: I think he's moving an amendment.

MR WOOD: That could be, Mr Stanhope. So I suppose over the next period the Assembly and the community will hear the opposition bleating "soft on crime". I reckon that in this community it just won't wash, because people know much better than that. It would be good if we saw the opposition supporting the efforts of the police-indeed, even supporting the efforts of the courts. I guess that is a bit much to ask for. I hope we do not have too many more of these disturbing, insensitive and rather foolish debates on the part of the opposition.

Mr Cornwell: Tell us about Florey!

MR WOOD: Yes, I will tell. Come and talk to me in private and I will tell you about Florey.

MS DUNDAS: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak again.

Leave granted.

MS DUNDAS: Thank you very much, members of the Assembly. I wanted to respond to something Mr Cornwell said in debate this evening. He seemed to indicate that the crossbenches are in favour of restorative justice principles because we are removed from being victims of crime. That statement is incorrect. I do not want to talk about personal issues here, but I think it is wrong to say that the crossbench does not know what it is to be a victim of crime. Policy decisions can be made with consideration of the bigger picture, not just in a knee-jerk, revenge state of mind.

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