Page 464 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Not only is the ACT bail system different from the Victorian system, but I think it is fair to say that our system is constantly being updated, improved and reviewed, and the amendment that Mr Ramsay has circulated makes this point. There would certainly be utility in waiting to see the results of the Victorian review of bail. We certainly should look at that when it comes about, and at whether there are any lessons to be learnt from that in the ACT, either with respect to the specific circumstances of the Bourke Street incident or broad lessons that would be applicable here in the ACT. None of that detail is available yet. Clearly, people with significant expertise are undertaking that review in Victoria, and it will be well worth reflecting on what they find and whether there is broader applicability.
As the ACT Bar Association pointed out yesterday, the Bail Act in the territory has been amended nearly 50 times since it was enacted. Recent amendments have focused on refining the bail system as part of the family violence prevention strategy. It is constantly under review and regularly refined if improvements are identified.
I want to comment on the issue Mr Hanson raised about the apparent unavailability of bail data. Mr Hanson says that the government does not know what crimes people might commit when they are on bail. This is a good issue to raise and to inquire about. Of course, we want to have all the relevant data so that we can make sound decisions about the efficacy of the current system. My understanding is that the data relating to bail crimes is captured and recorded, and this is used within the court system in relation to individuals. What has not occurred, however, is an aggregation of that data to produce reports showing how many and what types of crimes may have been committed by a person on bail. I believe that those more detailed reports—and the attorney has just spoken to this—can be produced, and the government is working on implementing this function as part of the integrated case management system being installed in the courts.
This integrated case management system is a very welcome development. Mr Hanson and I have both been in this place for a similar amount of time and have participated in a significant number of debates where the kind of data you would expect to be able to be extracted has not been available. We could probably think of at least a dozen examples of discussions we have had in this place where the Assembly has expressed frustration at the lack of availability of data.
The implementation of this integrated case management system—and the former attorney spoke to this on a number of occasions—hopefully will address this. It has taken longer than I would have hoped. Certainly, as the corrections minister, there are times when I am also frustrated by how difficult it is to extract some of this data. There have been times when staff have had to manually go through individual case files to extract the sort of data from the system that you would expect could be extracted by just pushing a button. But I have great optimism that the integrated case management system will make a significant leap forward in this area.
In conclusion, on behalf of the Greens, the Greens will not be supporting Mr Hanson’s motion today. We will be supporting the amendment circulated by the Attorney-General. I believe that it reflects accurately the current status of the ACT’s