Page 4832 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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I wonder whom she was referring to—

with people saying public schools didn’t teach you … values, but I think you learn a wider range of values because you are exposed to a broader range of people. At Lake Ginninderra College there is a really good spread of people.

It is interesting, is it not, that we have our leading students at our government colleges being forced to defend their college and defend the values that they are exposed to in their particular schools. “I know there was controversy earlier this year”. I wonder whom Megan was referring to. I wonder who sparked that controversy. I wonder why that controversy was sparked. Our young people are awake to it. So is the rest of the community.

MR SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.

Crime—victims’ assistance

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Attorney-General. The only 24-hour, seven-day a week provider of services to victims of crime, the Victims of Crime Assistance League, or VOCAL, struggles to exist on the very small amount of funding it receives from government, notwithstanding its volunteer base. I understand that recently a conference entitled “Peaceful co-existence—victims’ rights in a human rights framework” was held by the Victims of Crime Coordinator and the Office of Human Rights. Could you tell us how much that cost and what practical results for victims of crime came from this forum, if any?

MR STANHOPE: I am afraid I could not help the shadow attorney on what it cost. I do not know. I will seek advice on that. I am happy to take that question on notice. Since I am taking the question on notice, I am happy to provide the Assembly with greater details of the conference. I am aware of the conference. I was very aware that it was being conducted.

There is an agile debate conducted on victims and human rights. It is conducted in the context of the claim put about by some that one of the fallacies or weaknesses of a commitment to human rights is that human rights, to the extent that they are extended to a perpetrator of a crime, a criminal, in some way denigrate or derogate from the rights of a victim of crime. When one subjects that proposition to some analysis, it can be seen to be singularly flawed.

The fact that one group of people has a human right does not limit the possibility or the prospect that another group of people, who may in some way have association with that group with whom one is arguing, discussing or acknowledging the existence of a right, may have a right; in some way, that detracts from the rights of others. It simply does not. The notion of human rights is not that we choose in whom we invest human rights. We invest human rights in humans. We invest those human rights in humans, whether the human is a criminal or whether the human is the victim or somebody who has suffered at the hands of a criminal.

There are different sets of rights. In many respects, those rights are fundamental and inalienable. Because we acknowledge that a perpetrator has certain rights, say, to a fair

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