Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 August 2015) . . Page.. 2197 ..

You will have this inconsistently applied. It will be a bit like with drink-driving, where one police officer and one court determine that .02 seems a bit unrealistic and they say, “I don’t like that,” whereas another court or another police officer might think .08 is right.

That is why, when we write legislation, it has to be clear, precise and unambiguous for the courts and for those enforcing those laws—the police. And this is not. So let us make sure that we get this through the committee. We need to have a better understanding of what this law is actually trying to achieve, how it can be better written and better designed. We need to make sure that those who have to apply this law in the courts and on the ground, having gone into private homes to enforce this law, know what they are doing. Otherwise people will be hauled up on charges and potentially will be found guilty of what we in this place would never have thought was meant to be a crime, what they never knew was a crime and what community expectation would say is not a crime.

Let us take the responsibility ourselves. Let us make sure that we have a better look at this legislation. Madam Deputy Speaker, I move:

That the Liquor Amendment Bill 2015 be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for further inquiry and report back to this Assembly by the end of this calendar year.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (11.40): The government will not support referral of this bill to committee, and the reasons for that are due to the significant overreach we have heard from those opposite this morning. This is not a contentious bill; the proposals in it are not considered to be the contentious elements of liquor licensing reform in the ACT. I anticipate much more debate on the next bill that the government ultimately brings because, regardless of its contents, it will deal with more difficult and complex issues around liquor licensing in the territory. This bill, however, deals with some relatively straightforward precepts.

Mr Hanson has raised a number of concerns, but he has asserted that his primary concern is the characteristics of the offence, which is new section 204A, relating to the offence of supplying alcohol to a minor in a manner which is not consistent with the proposed provisions—that is, it has to be undertaken by a parent or guardian or authorised by a parent or guardian of the young person and where the supply is not consistent with responsible supervision.

The construction of this offence is consistent with the construction of similar offences in Queensland and the Northern Territory. I note Mr Hanson is asserting that there is too broad a discretion for police to determine whether to lay a charge and that it is difficult for people to make an assessment about whether their behaviour could be subject to the offence. It is simply not the case to assert that we do not generally construct offence provisions in this manner. In fact, a number of other criminal offences are constructed in this manner already, and which are common across the statute book. The offence of neglect and what constitutes neglect or the offence of

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video