Page 466 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 15 February 2017
who see an urgent need for a review. With respect to the singular voice of the Bar Association, who have some skin in the game, it must be acknowledged, as they often act for people who are applying for bail who have been accused of serious crimes, it does not do justice to having the sort of balanced, evidence-based debate that the Greens and the government often call for.
Mr Ramsay talked about the way to avoid any problems being raised was to give everybody a life sentence for everything or by saying that nobody ever gets bail. That is clearly a straw man. Setting up a false construct like that to try to make your argument is pretty poor form. This is about having an examination of the bail that is being applied. Nobody in the community is saying that you should give a life sentence for every crime and never give anyone bail. If that is the strength of your argument in defence of not having a review, because of some pretence that there are calls for everybody to be sentenced for everything for life, that is nonsense, and I would expect better from the Attorney-General.
We will not be supporting the amendment. Although there is nothing in it that I am particularly concerned about, ultimately it removes the fundamental intent of this motion, which is to have a review. So we will not be supporting the amendment as it stands. I think it is disappointing. I think that this is a missed opportunity. This is not kneejerk; it is not just in response to isolated events. Mr Rattenbury talked about this being about isolated events. “There is no sound basis of evidence to call for a review,” I think were his words.
That makes a mockery of the inquiry that was conducted by the JACS committee. They looked at the evidence and took submissions. They had a long and detailed inquiry—and good on them. There were two Labor members and two Liberal members. They consolidated that evidence. I invite Mr Rattenbury to read the committee report. But for him to say that there is no sound basis of evidence, when a committee of this Assembly has so recently conducted an inquiry which consolidated a whole raft of evidence, including submissions from experts, I think is disingenuous.
There is a broad range of evidence. There are many voices calling for a review. But this is not necessarily about what has been the case; this is not about the past. This is about protecting our community into the future. We have seen calls from the Leader of the Opposition federally and we know that the government in Victoria is doing something similar—both Labor Party leaders. It is a shame that what we see here in the ACT is a failure in leadership. It is a failure to do everything that can be done to prevent crimes and tragedies from occurring that could otherwise have been prevented. I indicate that we will not be supporting the government’s amendment as it stands.
That the amendment be agreed to.