Page 5203 - Week 12 - Thursday, 27 October 2011

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Mr Seselja: Point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Minister, hold the phone, please. Stop the clock. Mr Seselja.

Mr Seselja: My point of order goes to relevance. Mr Corbell is using all of his time now to debate a bill that is not before the Assembly. We are debating Mr Corbell’s bill, not Mrs Dunne’s bill. That will come on at another time. I ask you to ask Mr Corbell to remain relevant to this.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: It is okay, minister, I think that was the same point of order that was raised earlier on, and I have ruled on that. Mr Corbell, you may continue.

MR CORBELL: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. Clearly, the Liberals fail to understand that if they are going to make the argument that their bill is superior to the government’s bill and that is the reason to oppose this bill today, they have to be prepared to put up with some scrutiny of their own legislation to explain why that argument is invalid.

So what we have got is that, as the proposed new penalties for the basic ACT offences would be similar to those that exist in New South Wales, the government has already concluded that the new maximum penalties are at an appropriate level to also punish the aggravated offences. 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 in maximum penalties. In Mrs Dunne’s bill the aggravated form of culpable driving causing death carries a penalty of 17 years, well out of proportion to the seriousness of this offence compared to other related offences.

In summary and conclusion, both the government’s and Mrs Dunne’s bill make changes to a small number of maximum penalties in the ACT, but that is where the similarity ends. Unlike the government, Mrs Dunne has not carried out a detailed and careful analysis with reference to the scale of ACT penalties but instead has relied on what other jurisdictions are doing. Mrs Dunne has not taken a measured approach to penalties for aggravated offences and Mrs Dunne has not listened to the DPP with respect to the issue of the penalty for manslaughter.

The government, in preparing the Crimes (Certain Penalty Increases) Amendment Bill, has taken comments by the DPP onboard, referred as a starting point to penalties in other relevant jurisdictions and, most importantly, has carefully and methodically considered the appropriateness of specific penalty increases with reference to other ACT offences. In this way, the government’s bill ensures that the balance between penalties is retained and the community’s expectations about penalties reflecting the seriousness of offences are fulfilled. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo): Mr Assistant Speaker, under standing order 46 I seek your leave to make a personal explanation.

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