Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 10 April 2008) . . Page.. 1340 ..
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (5.44): I rise, as a member of the committee, to pretty much echo everything that Ms Porter has said. I do not need to go through the mechanics again; that would be wasting time. Ms Porter has covered the detail of how this particular matter was looked at. I have a couple of supplementary points to make, and that is all.
I came onto this inquiry extremely late, at the eleventh hour, but I saw enough at the end of the inquiry to understand where this concept was going and I was fairly impressed with what I picked up at the end. I do not know how I would feel if I had spent the entire time frame of the inquiry looking right at it, but I think I have seen enough to be satisfied that this is a very, very useful vehicle for supplementing the way that the community ought to approach the subject of conflict resolution amongst our young.
Mr Corbell: And it is chaired by a government member, too. How about that?
MR PRATT: Simon, thank you. I had probably forgotten to raise that matter. Thank God you were here. For me one of the highlights was the meeting that we had with Magistrates Dingwall and Madden of the—
Mr Corbell: With a government majority as well.
MR PRATT: Excuse me, Simon. Could I get a word in, mate? One of the highlights was talking to Magistrate Madden of the Ngambra Circle Sentencing Court. That was quite an interesting experience and it was quite enlightening to hear about the approaches that he has taken in that particular area of youth justice. Magistrate Dingwall has more broadly dealt with other youth justice matters and he raised a very interesting point about the Chisholm high school case that we have heard about from time to time in this place, and which I will come back to.
Clearly the restorative approaches to dealing with youth conflict and wrongdoing have been well developed, and my understanding is that these approaches have been well and truly built on the back of the RISE project that was commenced a couple of years ago. It is interesting that quite a number of schools have taken up restorative practices. Clearly the schools find some benefit in this approach. The committee looked at a particular cluster of schools and found some interesting lessons there on the experience that these schools have had in restorative practices.
I think it is very important, and I am quite happy that this report, while it goes to quite some length detailing pretty well the depth of the analysis of restorative practices and restorative justice in general, does now bring assurance to the community that this particular approach will run hand in glove with the time-honoured systems that are already in place to deal with youth justice matters.
The report quite explicitly states—I was very keen to put my little bit in at the end, and I appreciate my two colleagues on that committee accepting the one area that I thought ought to be tightened up a little—that if we are going to make sure that restorative practices are well understood and appreciated by the community the