Page 5273 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 29 November 2017

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I acknowledge all the victims who have come forward and spoken to the opposition and to the government. I hope they can feel that there has been significant change as a result of their advocacy and their experiences.

I would like to close by thanking very much my office and the staff within TCCS on the ground every day, those that have worked extremely hard over the last couple of months, earlier on with the animal welfare and management strategy, and most recently on this significant new piece of legislation. They have put in an extraordinary effort and done a lot of work, and I think we have some excellent new legislation.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Crimes (Criminal Organisation Control) Bill 2017

Debate resumed from 1 November 2017, on motion by Mr Hanson:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (4.24): The ACT government has very carefully considered the Crimes (Criminal Organisation Control) Bill and will not be supporting it today. Today’s debate is fundamentally about our policy approach to criminal laws. This government’s view is that simply changing the law cannot ever be itself an effective response to crime.

Our work as legislators in this space needs to be guided by two real-world significant impacts. Firstly, our laws must be compliant with human rights. Laws that are incompatible with human rights have very real consequences for the whole community and degrade our ability to participate in society with dignity and as equals. The second thing to consider is that our laws must be effective to achieve their aims, and this is vital when it comes to the criminal law. The statute book is not the appropriate place to make a statement. Police, prosecutors, defence lawyers and judges rely on it for their work. Every piece of legislation we pass needs to be assessed for its practical impact on the prosecution of crimes.

At the outset I thank Mr Hanson and his office, in particular Ian Hagan, for providing me with a thorough brief on this legislation. It is very clear that through the exposure draft process Mr Hanson took human rights seriously. It has been refreshing to engage with a member of the Canberra Liberals who understands that human rights are not just words on a page that should be repealed; they actually embody core principles of our role in society. We now hopefully have all three parties in this Assembly working to deliver legislation within a human rights framework and acknowledging the importance of human rights in our legal system.

I also commend Mr Hanson for engaging with the Human Rights Commission and for taking human rights into account in drafting this legislation. I would certainly welcome that approach from every member of the opposition in drafting legislation.

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