Page 2528 - Week 06 - Thursday, 23 June 2011

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Mrs Dunne’s suggestion that we are not talking to the legal profession. I would be fascinated to know where she got that from, but that is for another day. The actual advice, I think, highlights the competing arguments here. It does highlight the comment from Justice Besanko in the Queen against Fearnside in which he notes:

It might be said that it will be a surprising conclusion that a trial by jury would not secure to all accused persons a fair hearing by a competent, independent and impartial court. Furthermore, a jury trial would not result in an unfair hearing for the purposes of section 21(1) of the Human Rights Act.

This highlights the fact that there is a balance; there is an open question here and it is a matter of judgement to come down on one side or the other. I think I have set out that judgement. My earlier comments around the competing conclusions drawn by the Australian National University and the University of Canberra highlight the tensions here. But I believe that I have set out why the Greens have drawn the conclusion we have and why we will not be able to support the amendments put forward by Mrs Dunne today. We do not support them because we think they are unnecessary and that there are adequate processes already in place and in the laws that cover the situation that is sought to be addressed.

Question put:

That Mrs Dunne’s amendments be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 6

Noes 11

Mr Coe

Mr Smyth

Mr Barr

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Doszpot

Dr Bourke

Ms Hunter

Mrs Dunne

Ms Bresnan

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Hanson

Ms Burch

Ms Porter

Mr Seselja

Mr Corbell

Mr Rattenbury

Ms Gallagher

Question so resolved in the negative.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): The question now is that the bill, as a whole, be agreed to.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.23): The Canberra Liberals are now in a position where we cannot support this bill because, as Mr Seselja has rightly said, the reforms proposed by Mr Corbell get it wrong at both ends. They have a blanket prohibition at one end and really maintain the status quo at the other.

As the human rights commissioner and the Chief Justice have said, the distinction between those which fit into one category or the other is entirely arbitrary. It does not have anything to do with the severity of the crime or the penalties associated with it. I put on the record and firmly predict that the attorney will attempt to verbal the Canberra Liberals in the community, but he will do so at his own peril.

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