Page 4155 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005
Amendment agreed to.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.00): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I seek leave to move amendments Nos 5 to 11 circulated in my name together.
MR STEFANIAK: I move amendments Nos 5 to 11 circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 4176]. I thank the Assembly as this will help speed things up. If for some reason, which I doubt, the government were to support one of them, we would perhaps need to separate them at a later stage. But I assume that the government is supporting none of them and I will proceed on that basis.
These amendments relate to clause 33. One of the concerns the opposition has in relation to basically the sentencing provisions in, I think, section 342, or thereabouts, of the old Crimes Act, which are largely replicated in the new series of sections in chapter 4 of the legislation that we are now considering, is that there are indeed some impediments to proper sentencing. The opposition has expressed its concerns. Specifically, some members of the general community I have spoken to have made clear their concerns, as have victims of crime and representatives of the AFP. Some lawyers have assisted me in drafting instructions for the opposition’s amendments. I think I may have articulated some of those concerns before.
Amendments 5 and 9 need to be looked at together. Clause 33 of the government’s bill is concerned with relevant considerations regarding sentencing. Clause 33 (1) states:
In deciding how an offender should be sentenced (if at all)—
we now have that in the legislation—
for an offence, a court must consider whichever of the following matters are relevant and known to the court:
Included in that list is paragraph (g), which states:
any action the offender may have taken to make reparation for any injury, loss or damage resulting from the offence;
We need to have a look at paragraph (v), which states:
whether the offender has demonstrated remorse;
The people that I have spoken do not have a problem in relation to reparation. That is quite relevant. An offender who has taken the trouble to make reparation for an injury, loss or damage shows real contrition and remorse. What I have done in the amendment is put together both those paragraphs. Ordinary people I have spoken to who have had some dealings with the system have concerns that quite often an offender will demonstrate remorse, or theoretically demonstrate remorse, by saying, “Of course I am awfully sorry” and just simply not mean it. That person might then be back before the court, having committed further offences down the track. It is very easy to say, “I am