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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2334 ..

the energy they are putting into making Canberra a safer place for other people are ways of dealing with that grief. I totally understand that, and we have talked about that. It is very clear that they are having discussions not just with me but with the opposition and also with the minister. I believe they have talked to ACT Policing as well, and they do feel that there is progress being made, that there is an understanding and that there is a protocol being followed. However, their watchfulness and their concern have helped to make that possible.

Finally, I will refer to the courts. It seems that sentencing will always be controversial. It must be quite difficult to be a judge or a magistrate in this town, because everyone feels they have the right to comment on the judgements that are made. The public accounts committee will soon be reporting on our very lengthy inquiry into courts administration, and we do make a number of recommendations. There will probably continue to be issues about our courts. Perhaps it is just a matter of resources. I think that goes part of the way to it, but it is also a question of where the decisions are made and whether they are the right decisions.

On the whole, JACS is a huge department that covers a lot of important work. I feel that this is a great year, and I certainly look forward to the Alexander Maconochie Centre opening.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (10.56): Dr Foskey, I know a bit about bleeding hearts. I have been a bleeding heart with people here and in overseas war zones and refugee camps—I do not need to say much more than that—and I would be again in those circumstances overseas. I think Dr Foskey is a bleeding heart, no question about it, but I would like to see you, Dr Foskey, being a bleeding heart for all Canberrans, including those who are the victims of crime and bad behaviour. I want to see more compassion from you for those who become victims, Dr Foskey.

On the question of JACS, I want to focus entirely on the ESA. The budget for the ESA for this year is spectacularly unremarkable in comparison to the grand ideas and vast sums of money that have been appropriated in previous years. What we see this year is an attempt to be frugal after years of overspending. But the question remains: what really do we have to show for it? I point out that we have some massive concerns about what the capability really is.

According to experts, as heard during the legal affairs committee inquiry into bushfire management, we as a territory are actually worse off than we were in terms of operational capability before 2003. I point to the evidence given by Mr Michael Ross, the ex-chief officer of the RFS.

Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker, I know that the budget debate is a wide-ranging debate, but evidence given at inquiries that have not yet reported is something that I think members should be somewhat circumspect about commenting on. It is not usual in debates in this place for members to allude to evidence given before Assembly inquiries that are yet to have been reported to this place. I just seek your guidance on that matter, Mr Assistant Speaker.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Gentleman): Mr Pratt, please try to constrain yourself to the debate about the estimates.

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