Page 1117 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 16 March 2005

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MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.44): Firstly, I congratulate Mr Seselja for doing the research on those numbers; that is refreshing, I appreciate it. Whilst I am not going to agree with everything that you have said, I actually do think you are on the right track.

I think that suggesting that Ms Porter is not helping by having an over-reliance on this thing is a bit misplaced. Firstly, Mary Porter has put this agenda right into the public eye and right into the public discussion and I think she needs to be congratulated for that, if nothing else.

Mr Seselja alluded to the fact or indicated that his research indicated—I will get this right, because I am not going to attribute this to you necessarily—that RJ can result in increased crime and property crimes. I am not so sure about that. That is one set of stats and I am happy to see other stats to back it up. But one thing I will agree with him on, absolutely, is that we need to be scientific about our approach. I could not agree more.

But let just put a couple of things to the Assembly. The first is the alternatives at the moment. Do you know what happened when people broke the law in 1788? They were stuck on public transport and sent to New South Wales. The last time somebody broke the law sufficiently in the ACT, what happened? They were stuck on public transport and sent to New South Wales. Haven’t we come a long way in 200 years?

In fact, they were sent to New South Wales as part of the warehousing model. Those people that have been involved in this sort of game will recognise the terminology. The warehousing model, in fact, is sending people to jail, not as punishment but for punishment. That is where they were flogged. The warehousing model has one success: it actually removes the criminal from society for that period of time of the sentence. That is about all it does. So it is just a case of lock them up, get them off the streets. That is all that the warehousing model is good for.

Then we have the rehabilitation model, which is the warehousing model with offence-directed programs for prisoners, believing that, on conclusion of a term of imprisonment, prisoners are reformed and will be released as good citizens. It doesn’t work either; it never has worked. What happens is that they come out of the gate at Goulburn, say, and say to the gatekeeper, “See you later, Jack.” He says “Yeah, George.” And guess what? Sixty to 70 per cent of the time he is right; they see them later because they have not been involved in any restorative justice program.

Mr Speaker, restorative justice is a philosophy. This is the bit that Mr Seselja ought to be interested in: we are at the beginning of embracing restorative justice. We are talking about the application of restorative justice principles at a point in the continuum of a justice system, and that continuum starts when you get into the police car, if you are as guilty as sin, and finishes when you pay tax when you are out and are a viable member of the community. That is the continuum. The restorative justice model in the ACT at the moment kicks in about a third of the way through that.

The difference between the restorative justice principle and anything else is that these are programs that are prisoner-centric within the prison system. They concentrate on

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