Page 4684 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 19 October 2011

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working when it comes to the sentences for drink drivers and we would need to consider policy responses to that.

The sentencing review may make those suggestions based on its research or it would be then upon the Assembly to seek out mechanisms that would have a more significant and effective deterrent effect. Frankly, if those figures are correct—certainly, the data presented by the Canberra Times seems to suggest that is the case—we have a very significant problem, an intolerable problem in my view, and one that needs to be addressed very rapidly.

The government has outlined a number of arguments. Mr Corbell has come in here and talked about that. He said that a review was done in 2004 and it is too soon to revisit the matter. But I think it is important to be clear about what that 2004 review covered. That review only looked at non-custodial sentences and options for the sick or elderly. In case there is any suggestion I am cherry picking, let me read out the terms of reference for the 2002-04 review: first, to consider expanding the number of non-custodial sentencing options in the ACT; second, to assess sentencing options for specific offender groups such as the elderly or chronically sick; and, third, in light of the first and second points, to make recommendations about the consolidation of relevant legislation.

The result of the review was the consolidation of 12 separate pieces of legislation into the Crimes (Sentencing) Act and the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005. All of that is worthwhile progress. All of that is worthwhile reform. I think the terms of reference for that 2002 review were perfectly fine at the time and they were obviously worthwhile studies to undertake. But this is not the comprehensive review proposed in this bill, which would look at how effective those sentences actually are in meeting the goals of punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation as the primary ones in the sentencing act, in my mind, but there are, of course, others—community expectations being yet another.

I think that for the attorney to suggest it was all done in 2004 sells that review short, because that review clearly had a limit to what it was to achieve. We need to do more than that. I was interested in the attorney’s observation that he was uncomfortable in some way with a statutory requirement for review, given that those provisions exist in a range of other acts, including the compulsory third party act that was done in 2008, I believe. Mr Smyth inserted into that legislation a legislative requirement for review.

I think there is a time and a place for these things. I think simply setting out an expectation that the legislature or the parliament expects a review is quite valid, because otherwise it is simply left to the executive to decide to do it when it wants. I think it is quite appropriate for the parliament to express its desire to see a statutory review and not have to simply rely on the executive to decide whether it can be bothered or that it has finally got around to it.

I was also disappointed in Mrs Dunne’s suggestion that it would take too long to do this and we need to get on with it. If we do not start it now, it is going to take even longer. At some point this needs to be done. I think that we should be getting underway with it now. If we think this is important, if we think there are issues with

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