Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 November 2017) . . Page.. 5126 ..
MR RAMSAY: I thank Mr Steel for the supplementary. We know that if there were a simple solution—like a hammer—that would solve the problem of criminal gang activity, we would have found it and used it by now.
Mr Hanson interjecting—
MR RAMSAY: What we are doing is providing a suite of tools for a variety of scenarios that give the police and the courts a range of agile and practical tools to deter and disrupt this kind of criminal activity and protect our community. Importantly, our measures must continue to be compliant with the ACT’s commitment to being a human rights jurisdiction, adhering to values including the right to privacy, equality, freedom of association and freedom of movement.
Mr Hanson interjecting—
Ms Cody: A point of order, Madam Speaker.
MADAM SPEAKER: A point of order.
Ms Cody: I was very interested in the Attorney-General’s answer but I could not hear him over Mr Hanson.
MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, some silence for the remainder of the attorney’s answer, please.
MR RAMSAY: We must strike a balance to ensure that ACT citizens are not exposed to unreasonable infringements of their privacy and that any limitations on human rights are proportionate. That is why anti-consorting laws are always problematic. We know from the experience of other Australian jurisdictions that these laws are disproportionately used against vulnerable people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, young people and people experiencing homelessness.
This view is supported by the 2016 New South Wales Ombudsman’s report on the New South Wales anti-consorting law, which found that these laws have the potential to criminalise associations that include normal, everyday interactions between people who are otherwise unrelated to criminal activity. We must instead focus on solutions that are evidence based and do not further disadvantage vulnerable people in our society.
ACT Policing—criminal investigations
MR STEEL: Minister, what action is ACT Policing taking to combat criminal gangs?
MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Mr Steel for his question and his interest in community safety right across the ACT. Disrupting and dismantling the serious and organised criminal operations of criminal gangs continues to be a key operational priority for ACT Policing. The ongoing dedicated action by ACT Policing in this space is an essential pillar of the ACT government’s response to the activities of criminal gangs.