Page 5202 - Week 12 - Thursday, 27 October 2011

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Yesterday I did it again, and today I have done it and you have repeated it. The last time I said, “The minute you do it again, I shall name you.” And, Mrs Dunne, in accordance with standing order 202(d) and (e) I name you. Then in accordance with standing order 203 I am required to put the question, without debate.

Question put:

That Mrs Dunne be suspended from the service of the Assembly.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 11

Noes 6

Mr Barr

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Coe

Mr Smyth

Dr Bourke

Ms Hunter

Mr Doszpot

Ms Bresnan

Ms Le Couteur

Mrs Dunne

Ms Burch

Ms Porter

Mr Hanson

Mr Corbell

Mr Rattenbury

Mr Seselja

Ms Gallagher

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Mrs Dunne was therefore suspended at 4.39 pm for three sitting hours in accordance with standing order 204, and she accordingly withdrew from the chamber.

MR CORBELL: What we have just seen is the considerable sensitivity from the Liberal Party when their own bills come under some level of significant scrutiny. As I was saying, these two offences involve exactly the same level of harm—that is, grievous bodily harm—however, one requires a higher level of fault than the other: recklessness compared to strict liability. It undermines the balance of the whole penalty scheme for these offences to carry the same maximum penalty. Mrs Dunne’s bill disregards the basic principle that a more serious crime should merit a more serious punishment.

The same issues arise when comparing the treatment by Mrs Dunne and the government of aggravated offences. The government’s bill retains aggravated versions of the five offences affected by this bill but does not increase the maximum penalties available for these aggravated offences, as the new maximum penalties provided for in the bill are sufficient to account for the aggravated forms of these offences.

The government’s analysis in this area is confirmed by the findings of the 2010 review into New South Wales laws involving the deaths of unborn children conducted by retired New South Wales Supreme Court judge the Hon Michael Campbell QC. This review confirmed that existing New South Wales penalties allow the justice system to respond appropriately to criminal behaviour leading to the death of a foetus. As the proposed new penalties for the basic ACT offences would be similar to those that exist in New South Wales, the government has concluded that the new maximum penalties are an appropriate level to also punish the aggravated offence. Mrs Dunne’s bill, however, deals with aggravated offences by loading a few extra years onto the penalty for each basic offence. The result is even further imbalance—

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