Page 4966 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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like to thank the staff of the ministers’ offices. I have probably driven them pretty frantic with all my constituency matters.

I would like to thank my own staff, in particular Alys, whose smooth operation of my office helped me settle down when I first arrived and who has also been driven to distraction with the number of constituency matters that I have generated through my mobile offices. Thanks to Karin and Mick for your support as fellow backbenchers and to your staff for always being willing to help us with our responsibilities in our shared roles as backbenchers.

I would like to thank the people of Ginninderra for the faith they have placed in me by bringing a myriad of matters to my attention and for their numerous messages of good will that I have received of late. As Mr Seselja was just saying, Christmas time can be fraught with tension. Obviously, I would like to remember my family and friends at this time. It is a time for family and friends to get together and for neighbours to spend time with neighbours. I would especially like to recognise my family members for their understanding of my new role and the effect it has had on their lives. I thank my friends for their patience and their support.

I am looking forward to my Christmas volunteer doll from Mr Quinlan. It will remind us all how much volunteers in fact do cost the community, but also how much value they add. I am going to call the doll Mary Poppins especially for Mr Seselja. In the true spirit of Christmas, may I wish you all a very happy and safe holiday. To the last one out: don’t forget to turn out the lights!

Justice system


MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (6.35): Before I get to thanking people, I note with concern, having spoken to a number of lawyers at lunch time, that a long running matter was finalised today in the Court of Appeal. It brought to mind some real problems we have in the justice system in the territory, especially in relation to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.

As of today, the ACT has not mounted a successful murder prosecution since the matter of Conway, which I understand was in 1998. That is no reflection whatsoever on the DPP. I note that the government in its paper in relation to the last annual report of the legal affairs committee said that it would look at the offence of constructive murder, and I certainly encourage them to do so. There are some issues there.

But there are some significant other issues as well. The most recent case, which has now been finalised, is the matter of Hillier. That matter was heard by a trial judge, as has always been the case in the territory. The system is certainly very fair to the accused, and I have no dramas with that. The accused was duly convicted. There was an appeal to the Court of Appeal, and I am concerned to see that that appeal was actually upheld. I think it was a very strong Crown case and some disturbing elements arise from the upholding of that appeal. Obviously, I am not going to comment too much, but I have some knowledge of the case and I encourage the DPP to appeal to the High Court, which would be the next court, as is their duty.

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