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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5215 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

thresholds has had on insurance costs around Australia, and we will be much better placed to make longer term decisions in relation to this contentious and very difficult issue.

I commend the bill to the Assembly. I have to say, I do it with reluctance. This is one of those pieces of law reform that we have engaged in that brings me no joy.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Criminal Code (Theft, Fraud, Bribery and Related Offences) Amendment Bill 2003

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (10.57): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This bill will implement phase 3 of the Criminal Code by inserting a new chapter 3 in the Criminal Code that will reform and codify the ACT law on theft, fraud, blackmail, forgery, bribery and other related matters. The bill will also significantly rationalise and reduce the ACT statute book by repealing numerous offences in other legislation that will be made redundant by the new codified offences in new chapter 3. The bill also continues the work of the previous phase of the code project by applying the corporate criminal responsibility provisions of the code to all ACT offences. At present, they only apply to offences commenced after 1 January 2003.

When I introduced the Criminal Code 2002 in this Assembly last year, I highlighted some of the more important aims of the code project. In particular, I said that the code will progressively modernise the criminal law so that it is relevant to the conditions of the 21st century and is expressed in terms that ordinary people can understand. I also said that codification of the criminal law is of major importance to the ACT and to the nation as a whole because it will achieve uniformity in criminal law across Australia.

The advantages of the Criminal Code are of particular importance to the matters covered by this bill because now, more than ever, offences such as theft, fraud, forgery, bribery and blackmail recognise no borders. If we are to deal effectively with these crimes it is crucial for the law to be uniform, relevant and capable of being readily understood and applied. The new chapter that this legislation will insert in the code achieves these aims.

The reforms in this package are primarily based on the model criminal code, which was developed by the national Model Criminal Code Officers Committee, a body established by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General for that purpose. However, to ensure that we achieve the most modern and effective package of offences possible, the bill incorporates improvements on the model criminal code developed by the Commonwealth in the Commonwealth Criminal Code and also includes a number of improvements that are currently in operation under the ACT Crimes Act 1900.

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