Page 5357 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2011

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MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.58): The government will be opposing this clause. Mrs Dunne’s bill proposes to increase the maximum penalty for the offence of manslaughter, despite the fact that the DPP has stated that the current penalty is appropriate in giving evidence to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety in its inquiry into the Crimes (Murder) Amendment Bill 2008. The DPP has since confirmed that there is no reason for a change to the penalty for the offence of manslaughter.

In addition, the penalty increase proposed by Mrs Dunne for manslaughter from 20 to 25 years means that there will be an even greater gap between the penalties for manslaughter and intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm. There should be some parity between penalties for these offences, recognising that the offences are of similar seriousness. While I recognise that there is clearly a different result with manslaughter when compared with intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm, the latter offence involves a higher degree of culpability. As a result, the government does not support this clause.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.00): The Canberra Liberals will be opposing the government’s opposition to this clause. The government shows a considerable lack of understanding on these issues, which I touched on in my comments. The attorney is creating a fiction, really, where he is equating manslaughter and inflicting grievous bodily harm. The outcomes are different. They are both serious, but it is quite clear the outcome is different. I was a little perplexed in my conversations between my staff and I on one side and the minister and his staff on the other when we were discussing this the other day. The inconsistencies will become more obvious when we get to the issue about grievous bodily harm. But we have a situation where, while both of these issues are serious and the tests are high, the outcome is different.

Although I am quite happy with the general notion that the penalty for intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm should be high, while we are dealing with matters that result in death, it is the view of the Canberra Liberals that the penalties should be higher for that. That is why the Canberra Liberals will not be supporting the government’s opposition to this clause.

Question put:

That clause 5 be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 5

Noes 9

Mr Doszpot

Mr Smyth

Mr Barr

Ms Hunter

Mrs Dunne

Ms Bresnan

Ms Le Couteur

Mr Hanson

Ms Burch

Ms Porter

Mr Seselja

Mr Corbell

Mr Rattenbury

Mr Hargreaves

Question so resolved in the negative.

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