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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 April 2008) . . Page.. 784 ..

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.09): Mr Smyth’s matter of public importance is of exceeding importance, and what we have seen today is the complete back flip and backing down of the Minister for Education and Training when he has been caught out. The community has come to the opposition distraught about the decisions made by the department or mooted by the department of education in relation to Lyons primary school. Only when these matters have been made public has this minister backed down. It was as late as yesterday afternoon when his office was telling journalists that one of the options was to put all the kids at Lyons primary school into the assembly hall. It was as late as yesterday afternoon that one of his staff—his DLO—was telling parents that that is where the children would go. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: The time for this discussion has expired.

Crimes Amendment Bill 2008

[Cognate bill:
Crimes (Street Offences) Amendment Bill 2007]

Proposed new clause 18 and proposed new schedule 1.

Debate resumed.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.10): I am taking the opportunity to speak again. I was interested to hear the comments made by the Attorney-General and Dr Foskey, who is not with us, but I will address some of the comments that she made similar to the attorney’s. Dr Foskey falls into the common trap, I think, of people who either do not understand or do not want to understand the need for legislation like this and who have, perhaps, a certain view about police and a very rose-coloured view of offenders and what actually happens on the streets.

She spoke of police coming along and maybe not being too sure what has happened, because it has already started, and worrying about victims actually being involved in fighting in a public place. She also made comments about our asking too much of our police officers to actually have to make a decision on the spot and it would be much easier for them if they did not have to do it. I find that patronising in the extreme. Might I also say that police officers have to make decisions on a daily basis whenever they come into contact with anyone who may or may not have committed an offence.

Indeed, if they were to duckshove their responsibilities, how could they possibly arrest anyone, if you follow her logic. I think it is a somewhat warped and convoluted logic which totally misses the point. She does not appreciate what it is actually like out there when you come across situations and you have to act.

Far from police officers not wanting to actually have the power to administer and issue an on-the-spot fine for fight in a public place or for offensive behaviour, they want that. Those were the main offences, along with indecent exposure or urinating in public. I think that is a better offence; that is a good one, minister. But offensive behaviour and fight in a public place were specifically mentioned by every single police officer I spoke to at Tuggeranong, at Woden, at Belconnen, at Civic, and even

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