Page 2970 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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MS BURCH: My question is to the Attorney-General. Can the Attorney-General advise the Assembly on the government’s approach to practical and considered reforms in relation to serious and organised crime and whether the government is aware of alternative proposals in this area?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Burch for the question. The government’s approach to this issue of serious and organised crime is based on a careful and considered assessment of the need to ensure that serious crime is dealt with in a coherent and effective way in our community and is based on respect for important principles of law in a democratic society. We have refused to allow ourselves to be hijacked by an agenda based on fear and have resisted being pushed into some knee-jerk response when it comes to some of the more high-profile media incidents that have occurred in other states.

Yesterday I tabled in the Assembly a detailed report on the issues raised by the anti-gang laws that have been put in place in places such as New South Wales and South Australia. I also outlined in that report the range of possible legislative proposals that could be progressed in the ACT to further strengthen our already comprehensive suite of organised crime laws. This approach is consistent with the approach adopted by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General when it met in Canberra in April, when we agreed that there needed to be a common framework and set of principles within which jurisdictions could work to implement laws that best suited their particular circumstances.

But what I find particularly interesting about this approach is that it stands in marked contrast to the approach of others, in particular those of the Liberal Party. I saw the comments from the shadow Attorney-General in the media this morning where she once again resorted to the cheap political line that the ACT was being soft on criminal gangs. I reflected on this in my musings this morning and I thought, “Isn’t it interesting that we have got the shadow Attorney-General who is keen to be seen to be taking a tough line on serious crime?”

Then I thought, “What other things, what other issues, are they being tough on in serious crime?” I thought about the most serious crime there is, which is the serious crime of murder. That is the most serious criminal offence to exist in the territory. Has the ACT Liberal Party—

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, could I ask you to remind the attorney that it would be inappropriate to reflect on a vote of the Assembly to refer the matter of murder to a committee.

MR CORBELL: I have not reflected on any such vote.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, resume your seat, thank you. Clerk, stop the clock. Mr Corbell, whilst you have not transgressed the standing order yet, I would remind you of the standing order as you proceed.

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