Page 3748 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 24 September 2019

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communication with witnesses and obtaining accurate and complete testimony can ensure that not only the complainant but also the accused experiences a fair trial.

For the justice system, obtaining clear, accurate testimony improves the court’s ability to deliver justice more effectively. This has been shown to be the case in other jurisdictions where similar legislation has been implemented, such as in New South Wales, Victoria and elsewhere.

For broader society, reducing communication barriers improves the ability to hold offenders to account. Child sexual abuse offences are generally committed in private. Typically, the victim is the only witness who can provide direct evidence of the abuse. Ensuring that victims can communicate their evidence is integral to prosecuting child sexual abuse offences.

Better methods for hearing the evidence of child abuse victims can also increase offender accountability by encouraging the reporting of such crime, recognising that current system failures can deter victims from making a report. In short, ensuring that victims are heard in our criminal justice system prevents and deters abuse, creating a safer community.

The ACT has a proud history of being at the forefront of reforming criminal processes to ensure that the voices of victims can be heard in our justice system. Today I am proud to be introducing another bill that takes us even further in the direction of improving access to justice for witnesses.

This bill is yet another example of this government’s commitment to implementing the findings of the royal commission. We will keep working to improve our legal system, and we will keep demonstrating in our words, in our actions and in our laws that creating a safer and more just society for all is our absolute priority. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.

Sentencing (Drug and Alcohol Treatment Orders) Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

Debate resumed from 6 June 2019, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (10.33): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill. We will also be supporting the government amendments. The Canberra Liberals have long been supporters of providing this sort of pathway for offenders. Its use in other jurisdictions shows that this approach is effective—effective not just for the offenders but also for families, for friends and for the entire community.

In New South Wales His Honour Roger Dive, the Senior Judge of the New South Wales Drug Court, quoted results from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research in February this year. He noted that the results:

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