Page 465 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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

bail system, which is one that is under constant refinement and improvement as issues arise. Rather than waiting for a major review or responding to a specific incident, it is about looking for continuous improvement. The attorney’s amendment also reflects a willingness to continue to make improvements where specific matters are identified—and they are identified by the DPP, the Victims of Crime Commissioner, the Human Rights Commissioner, the police and community organisations. It is fair to say that this Assembly has not been reticent to make those improvements as they have come forward, and we should continue to do that where issues are identified.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (12.05): I thank members for their contributions today. I am disappointed that no review will eventuate. Regardless of that, we have put this important issue on the table, and that is a positive step. But it is disappointing that there will be no review.

I am encouraged to note that there seems now to be an acceptance that, as Mr Rattenbury and the Attorney-General have identified, the data problem is real. Yes, the courts have access to the individual history of someone appearing before them, but there is no aggregation of the data, which makes it impossible, to be frank, for the government or anyone else in the community to have an evidence-based look at how our bail laws are working.

This is not an attempt to look at one incident, a kneejerk reaction to a particular incident here or interstate. The issue of the aggregation of the data has been one that the opposition has been pursuing for years, and before Mrs Dunne moved her motion. If you want a consolidated view of it, five years ago we said we needed to have the data, we needed to know who has committed crimes on bail and what the nature of those crimes was. That was five years ago, and we are still here in the chamber today saying we need that data.

That is unacceptable. If we are going to put community safety at the forefront then you cannot simply say it is all too hard, sit on your hands for five years and not provide that information to the community, to the committees of this Assembly, or indeed within JACS, so that they can make informed decisions. If we are now, as it appears, within government getting an understanding that there is a necessity to get that information, that would be a good thing, but I certainly hope not to be in this place in another five years still talking about the same issue: the lack of clarity around the application of bail, how it is being applied and what offences are being committed here in the ACT.

I note that both Mr Ramsay and Mr Rattenbury talked quite a bit about the comments from the Bar Association. I note those, and there is room in a review and in this debate for a broad range of opinions. I fully acknowledge that they are not in favour of a review, but I think that it would be useful for all of us in this place to also acknowledge the comments from those on the front line, and read the various comments that have been put forward by the DPP, and acknowledge the viewpoint of people like the police and the Victims of Crime Commissioner.

Being selective, and choosing only the public comments of those who support your position, exposes a weakness in your argument. There are many—victims included—

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