Page 4685 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 19 October 2011

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penalties in the ACT, then we should get this started. If Mrs Dunne laid out a time line, maybe that is a fair reflection of how long it would take. Maybe it is not. That is not the important point.

Whatever that time line is, the sooner we start, the sooner we are going to get to the end of it. That would certainly be my observation. Now seems to me as good a time as any to get on and look at our sentencing, given the level of concern that certainly some members of this place have expressed. If they are accurate in their views, that reflects community views. So the sooner we get started the better.

All in all, I think it is very disappointing that there is not support for this bill today. I think this bill is the constructive approach to some concerns that have been raised. I think it is a proactive approach on areas that perhaps have not been touched on yet, but on which the Assembly would benefit from receiving expert advice.

As I seem to recall, I said in my introductory speech on this that the Greens are very much of the view that a group such as the Australian Institute of Criminology could be engaged to undertake this sort of review. Perhaps not specifically them, but they are the sort of organisation or institution I had in mind—an organisation that does not have a specific agenda, but that has a great deal of expertise.

I think the Assembly would strongly benefit from receiving the sort of information that would come from an organisation with that level of expertise that took the time to sit down and work through it, took the time to sit down and look at the data and draw out the evidence in a way that would inform the Assembly and give us the best possible information to proceed.

It is a shame that we are not going to take that opportunity, but that simply means that we will now have to continue to address sentencing on the ad hoc basis that it seems we are doing at the moment. I think that is a disappointment. It is a disappointment for many of the community organisations who have supported an approach that the Greens have put forward in good faith in order to ensure that we have the best information. Mrs Dunne said that this is some sort of stalling tactic. Quite the contrary; I see it as a direct response to the level of concerns that have been expressed.

As I said, we should be stepping back and taking an approach that says that we want to do this in a considered way and in an evidence-informed way, in a way that gives the Assembly the best possible information when we come into this place to seek to make decisions on what the appropriate sentencing regime is for the ACT and whether our current laws are meeting expectations or not. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question put:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted—

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