Page 1699 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 April 2009
is only when there is a highly published event that we actually see any real action. The government actually has the intelligence on what is happening, and I am sure they are not going to try and pretend that there is not gang-related activity in the ACT and that there is not organised crime in the ACT.
Mrs Dunne’s point which highlighted some of the gangland wars in recent times is worth reflecting on. There is a certain glamorisation of organised crime through series such as Underbelly. We see almost a romanticising of some of the most hardened and cold-blooded criminals in the nation, and that does not help the situation. It does not help the situation for there to be hysteria about organised crime, but viewing organised crime in any sort of favourable light does not help either.
We are dealing with serious criminal gangs across the nation. The ACT will never be immune to what happens in New South Wales and in other jurisdictions, and a measured response that learns from what is happening in South Australia and what is being proposed in New South Wales and does not ignore or pretend to ignore what goes on in other jurisdictions around the country is critically important.
The minister has been particularly slow, I think, to wake up to this fact. He has now shifted his rhetoric, and we welcome that. Mr Hanson has foreshadowed that if the Greens do not support his motion he is prepared to move some amendments which would improve Mr Corbell’s motion to ensure that we actually do see some action. Let us just make it clear. We do want to see some action. No one is arguing for knee-jerk responses. That is just a straw man that has been put up. We are looking for measured and sensible action which protects Canberrans and particularly takes account of the fact that we do not want to become a haven for organised crime as a result of changes in other jurisdictions.
We welcome the AFPA’s contribution to this debate, which backs Mr Hanson. They make exactly the point that Jeremy Hanson has been making, which is that if we do not change our laws and New South Wales significantly strengthens its laws and Queensland does and other states do, we run the real risk of providing a haven for organised crime. That is something that we need to guard against. That is something that we as lawmakers here in the territory need to ensure does not happen.
We call on the minister to take all reasonable steps along that path. We hope that, whatever is eventually agreed to in this motion, it will give a clear direction to the minister to take up this issue with gusto to get some sensible changes to our laws to ensure the protection of citizens here in the ACT.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.48): I welcome the opportunity to speak to Mr Hanson’s motion. The government will not be supporting the motion today. It does not, in our view, provide an appropriate way forward in dealing with the important issues raised and being debated across Australia around so-called outlaw motorcycle gangs.
I note Mr Seselja’s characterisation of my position in this debate, and I will respond to those matters at the close. I would say, though, that Mr Hanson’s contribution has