Page 5360 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 16 November 2011

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15 years. The increase to the penalty to the aggravated form of the offence made by this clause is in line with the government’s position that a small penalty loading for aggravated offences, in this case a loading of two years, is acceptable.

Finally, clause 6E amends section 25 of the Crimes Act to raise the maximum penalty for the offence of negligently causing grievous bodily harm from two years to five years. It is the same amendment to the penalty for this offence as would have been made by the government’s Crimes (Certain Penalty Increases) Amendment Bill 2011. This amendment is necessary to retain balance in the ACT scale of penalties for offences against the person.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.12): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this amendment—some aspects of which are a little surprising—with the exception that we will have an amendment to clause 6B. I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 5491].

The amendment seeks to amend Mr Corbell’s amendment No 4 by amending clause 6B to increase the aggravated offence penalty that the government proposes from 23 to 25 years—omit the current 20 years for an aggravated offence and make it 25 years. I will address the amendment that I have moved in relation to section 19(2) now and then when we deal with that I will go back and address the other amendments, if that is suitable.

The amendment comes about by agreement between Mr Corbell and me. It is one of the principal issues and I have touched on it a couple of times. It seeks to increase the penalty for the offence of intentionally inflicting grievous bodily harm—the aggravated version of that offence. I think the issue is that, while the penalty for manslaughter is also 20 years, the aggravated penalty for manslaughter is 28 years. The government originally proposed 23. After discussions, Mr Corbell said that he would agree to an amendment from me to increase that to 25.

This is where I see that there is inconsistency in the government’s argument. The attorney, in debate today, in discussions that we had earlier in the week and in the debate last week, has consistently equated manslaughter and inflicting grievous bodily harm as essentially equal crimes but, when pressed on this, he does admit that the outcome for manslaughter is more serious. While we are moving in baby steps to recognise that, I think that there is inconsistency.

We now have manslaughter which will have a maximum penalty of 20 years and an aggravated penalty of 28 years and, when this legislation passes, we will have inflicting grievous bodily harm which will have a maximum penalty of 20 years and an aggravated offence penalty of 25 years. There is inconsistency there, but at this stage I will point it out rather than quibble about it.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.16): I think this series of amendments highlights the sad nature of this debate. The government, in their original bill on this in the last sitting period, initially proposed to keep this penalty at 20 years, the level it currently sits at. The Liberal Party, I understand, agreed to that at that point in time; there was no sense of changing this. The government then proposed 23 years, and

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