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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4981 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

stipulates that bail for minor offences must be unconditional. The government's policy is to remove this impediment to courts and authorised officers applying their discretion to impose conditions upon bail.

The government also intends to improve another aspect of law enforcement through the Bail Act. For people arrested for the breach of peace, the government believes that authorised officers of the court should be able to impose a condition upon the granting of bail as part of upholding peace in the community. Giving authorised officers and courts the discretion to impose conditions in the context of minor offences and breaches of peace is a practical way to improve the prevention of crime and to maintain the community's respect for the law.

Mr Speaker, the government agrees with the substance of the commission's proposals to improve the criteria courts and authorised officers must consider when deciding upon bail. In this spirit, the government's policy is to build upon the commission's recommendations about bail criteria by creating first order and second order considerations for the judiciary and for authorised officers.

The government's view is that the first order of consideration should be: the likelihood of the person appearing in court in respect of the offence for which bail is considered; the likelihood of the person committing an offence whilst on bail; the likelihood of the person harassing or endangering the safety or welfare of members of the public whilst on bail; the likelihood of the person interfering with evidence, intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the course of justice, whether in relation to himself or herself or another person; and the interests of the person.

When considering these first order criteria, the court or authorised officer should also have in mind the second order criteria, namely: the nature and seriousness of the offence; the character, background and community ties of the person; the probable effect that a refusal of bail would have on the person's family; the history of any previous grants of bail; and the strength of the evidence against the person.

Mr Speaker, the government is a government for all. We are a government that considers the expectation of the community in a calm and measured way, we are a government that acquaints itself with Australia's legal history and traditions and we are a government that intends to uphold everyone's rights.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister's time has expired.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Legal Affairs-Standing Committee

Scrutiny Report No 41

MR STEFANIAK (11.10): Mr Speaker, I present the following report:

Legal Affairs-Standing Committee (performing the duties of a Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee)-Scrutiny Report No 41, dated 9 December 2003, together with the relevant minutes of proceedings.

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