Page 4166 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2005

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The government does not believe that any case has been made to introduce New South Wales guideline judgments on the basis that New South Wales does it and we should slavishly follow. The government does not believe any case has been made to introduce guideline judgments in the ACT.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.42): I thank members for their comments. The guideline judgments, from my information, work well in New South Wales.

In relation to a point the attorney made—and I did not address amendment 18 along with amendment 16, which I do now because effectively both of them deal with and would introduce guideline judgments—this gives the court of appeal, on its own initiative or at the request of the attorney, the ability to give a guideline judgment, which is to be taken into account by courts when sentencing offenders. Then it indicates when a guideline judgment can be given. It can be given either separately on proceedings that the court of appeal considers appropriate or it can be given in proceedings, even when it is not necessary for deciding the proceedings. It may be reviewed, varied or revoked in a later guideline judgment. It does not limit the power or jurisdiction that the court of appeal has, apart from this section.

If the attorney has got some real concerns in relation to some points raised by the High Court, I would suggest the easiest way would simply be to amend it and take out the ability of the Attorney-General to request a guideline judgment. It is not “demand”; it is “request”. What is there is absolutely in line with the principle and the doctrine of separation of powers. But if there are particular concerns, he could simply remove the Attorney-General from the equation so that he cannot even request a guideline judgment.

To Ms Foskey, I say that it is not the executive interfering here; it really is the courts doing it themselves. Again, if you read the amendment, it is quite clear that this is giving the court the ability to consider a guideline judgment for consistency. That is very, very, important. It is important in terms of making out a case why guideline judgments would assist in terms of proper sentencing. It operates in New South Wales. Again, the size of the jurisdiction, I would submit to you, simply does not matter. In fact, in a smaller jurisdiction, it might even be that much more helpful and appropriate.

I can read numbers. I make those points and note that this too will be voted against.

Question put:

That Mr Stefaniak’s amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 6

Noes 9

Mrs Burke

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mrs Dunne

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Mr Mulcahy

Dr Foskey

Mr Quinlan

Mr Pratt

Mr Gentleman

Mr Stanhope

Mr Smyth

Mr Hargreaves

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