Page 5116 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 28 November 2017
Director of Public Prosecutions—resourcing
MR HANSON: My question is to the Attorney-General. It was reported in the Canberra Times recently that a DPP prosecutor appeared at the Supreme Court asking that nearly 30 cases be abandoned because “a chronic lack of resources meant it didn't have enough prosecutors to run the matters”. The court refused his or her request. Are there nearly 30 cases in the ACT that the DPP does not have enough resources to proceed on?
MR RAMSAY: My understanding is that the practice that has occurred for listing between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court has resulted in pressure not only for the DPP but also, I am advised, right across the legal profession. That has meant that there have been a number of matters set aside at this stage. As the member is well aware, we are working with the DPP in government consultations at the moment, and deliberations, in relation to the ongoing resourcing of the DPP.
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hanson, not commentary, thank you.
MR HANSON: I was thinking out loud, Madam Speaker. Attorney-General, how can you guarantee that those 30 cases will be adequately prosecuted if they are forced to proceed without sufficient resources?
MR RAMSAY: I acknowledge the wisdom that happens when the member happens to think out loud. It is always a good thing when members opposite think before they speak and I do acknowledge that it happens. Wonderful times! I thank the member for his thinking and his speaking.
What it is that I can guarantee is that we have, as I say, a matter that is putting pressure not only on the DPP but right across the legal profession. Comments have also been made in terms of legal aid and the broader profession. What it is that we have looked at is that in those particular cases they are ensuring that they can be prosecuted but that they can be done in a way that is at no risk to the community.
MS LEE: Attorney, will you now reassess the funding given the real-world impact that the lack of resources has on 30 cases before the Supreme Court?
MR RAMSAY: I thank Ms Lee for the supplementary question. As I think I have said before, the government is indeed looking at and considering the resourcing of the DPP, along with all the priorities across the legal profession and the legal justice system, and our priorities right across government.
MR WALL: My question is to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development. Minister, at the 2016 election the Labor Party promised to recruit 20 extra psychologists to work in our school system. So far, no extra psychologists