Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 August 2017) . . Page.. 2366 ..
Mr Hanson: The question and the statements relate to the need for new laws, specifically relating to anti-consorting laws, not the list of other laws. So that was a nice try. But are new laws, as in the anti-consorting laws, necessary, which is what the Human Rights Commissioner was referring to?
MADAM SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Hanson. You have some time left to come to the point of the question, Attorney.
MR RAMSAY: I note that the focus of the comments was in relation to outlaw motorcycle gangs and how it is that we can best address those. Regarding the way that we can best address those, the government has been clear, and I said it yesterday, that we will make decisions on the basis of evidence. The evidence is not strong in relation to anti-consorting laws. I again draw the attention of the Assembly to the fact that, in relation to the laws that have been used as the model by the shadow attorney-general for the bill that he is considering at the moment, there has been a report that has looked at the effectiveness and efficiency of those, and the report has recommended that those laws be repealed. This government will work in the area of evidence-based decision-making. We will look at new laws. A range of new laws is being considered. Anti-consorting laws are not one of those.
MR HANSON: Attorney-General, how many more shootings or other acts of violence will need to occur across Canberra suburbs before you will follow the lead of New South Wales and other jurisdictions and introduce anti-consorting laws?
MR RAMSAY: The government is working with the Chief Police Officer at the moment for the introduction of effective laws rather than laws that have been found in reports to be not effective. So we will be looking at areas of anti-fortifications laws, we will be looking at crime scene powers, as the Chief Minister highlighted in his speech yesterday. We will focus on ensuring that Canberra is safe. We will do it in a way that is effective.
MR STEEL: Minister, why do anti-consorting laws not work?
MR RAMSAY: I thank Mr Steel for his supplementary question. I again draw the Assembly’s attention to the report that I mentioned yesterday. It is a very helpful report for people who have been thinking in the area of anti-consorting laws because the New South Wales Ombudsman has worked through a range of areas. It has said that the laws are ineffective, the laws do not work, the laws do not create a structure that policing in this state and New South Wales or in other states are able to use effectively, and because of that the recommendation is that they be repealed.
In addition, I note that the Ombudsman’s report outlines and provides evidence to support, again, that anti-consorting laws are likely to criminalise behaviour by other groups of people that would not otherwise be criminal. The focus on those and those human rights laws is important for us. We will be progressive. We will take the way of ensuring that we are based on evidence and effectiveness.