Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 Sept 2009) . . Page.. 3977 ..
I think it is also worth noting the fact that, in the government’s view, the committee has taken too selective an approach. For example, the committee has set aside the UK law commission’s murder, manslaughter and infanticide report, where it supported the intention to cause grievous bodily harm as within the ambit in murder. In short, the government believes the committee has been very narrow and selective in how it presents the deliberations and findings of the WA report.
The committee’s selection gives the impression that intent to cause grievous bodily harm as a threshold for murder is regarded as inherently wrong. But this is a flawed view. The Western Australian Law Reform Commission’s report itself noted that an intention to kill and an intention to cause an injury likely to endanger life are morally equivalent. What the commission advocated against was an intention to cause a permanent injury to health as a mental element of murder.
So the government believes that the existing provisions as proposed in its bill are the right way forward. They make it clear that where someone intends to cause serious harm to a person and that person dies as a result of those injuries, the person could be charged with murder.
What the committee has recommended instead is a provision which, firstly, has no historic links with the ACT statutes; secondly, it is inconsistent with the way our law has developed, recognising that we are not a Griffith code state; and, thirdly, there is no ability to transfer Western Australian jurisprudence to the ACT. There is no jurisprudence here in the ACT in relation to the definition proposed by the committee and in particular in relation to the term “bodily injury”. Therefore, the government believes that members will need to reconsider this matter.
I commend the government’s response to members. It is a detailed explanation of these issues. I would also be happy to provide further briefings to members on these matters and to provide the advice I have received from the Director of Public Prosecutions. But I want to make it clear that the government does not support this proposed change. It is an ad hoc adoption of one element of the Western Australian law in isolation from the fact that Western Australia is a different jurisdiction when it comes to how its murder law is formulated. Further, it fails to acknowledge the fact that there is no jurisprudence here in the ACT for the interpretation of these definitions.
To adopt this in isolation would be poor policy; it would create confusion in relation to the application of the murder law in the ACT. That is why the government will continue to propose its mechanisms as set out in the bill. I commend the response to the Assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Statutory authorities and territory-owned corporations
Discussion of matter of public importance
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Le Couteur): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Ms Burch, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mr Hanson, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public