Page 4088 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005

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That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent order of the day No 3, Private Members’ business, relating to the Sentencing and Corrections Reform Amendment Bill 2005, being called on and debated cognately with orders of the day Nos. 1 and 2, Executive business, relating to the Crimes (Sentencing) Bill 2005 and the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Bill 2005.

Crimes (Sentencing) Bill 2005

[Cognate bills:
Crimes (Sentence Administration) Bill 2005
Sentencing and Corrections Reform Amendment Bill 2005]

Debate resumed from 7 April 2005, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SPEAKER: I understand that it is the wish of the Assembly to debate this bill cognately with executive business order of the day No 2, Crimes (Sentence Administration) Bill 2005 and private members business order of the day No 3, Sentencing and Corrections Reform Amendment Bill 2005. That being the case, I remind members that in debating order of the day No 1, executive business, they may also address their remarks to order of the day No 2 executive business and order of the day No 3 private members business.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (10.49): Speaking cognately, I will firstly address the government’s bill. I note that, even though I would normally close debate on my own bill, because it is a cognate debate there might be some problem in relation to that. I will make a few comments on that. The government has issued a sentencing paper—I wonder how many groups outside the ones listed it actually spoke to—and has come up with two consolidated bills. Twelve bills have been truncated into two.

The opposition will be supporting the government’s bills. They basically replicate the laws in relation to sentencing—especially the Crimes (Sentencing) Bill. Several changes have been made and we do not have a particular problem in relation to those. Basically, the government indicated that the bills aim to get courts to act in a consistent and objective way. This is rather difficult. It is the bane of sentencing throughout Australia and certainly in the ACT. I doubt very much that the bills will do that. Nevertheless, it is handy to have consolidated bills.

There have been a couple of additions, which we do not have any problem with—for example, the home detention system, which started in 2001. Thirty-five people qualified and only 25 completed the course properly. That is very time consuming and takes a certain amount of money. When it was introduced some of us in government had considerable concerns, but it was worth a go. It does not appear to have worked and, accordingly, we do not have any great problem with the government not including it in this particular bill.

Periodic detention continues. That has been shown to be a very useful tool but I think the government also needs to ensure that more is done if people breach detention and do not attend. Figures obtained over the last few years indicate that often up to 30 or 40 per cent of people breach those orders. Some of them are fairly minor technical breaches—if

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