Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016

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Parliamentary Record 1


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 65 to 124


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Wednesday 19 October 2016 115 government to build multiagency cooperation for solving entrenched problems that do not neatly fit into portfolio categories. Our government will not accept blame shifting. The justice framework will be the way Territorians can hold our government accountable for the future direction of our justice system. A key principle underpinning the justice framework will be our governments commitment to reasserting local power and increased role for traditional leadership in our justice system. Our government will consult widely on implementing this principle with a view to empowering local communities and partnering with non-government agencies to ensure the cultural component of delivery of justice across the Northern Territory. This will help our government deliver on another commitment: an Aboriginal justice agreement. The Aboriginal justice agreement should complement and enforce our governments commitment to a 10-year road map for returning local decision-making and control to communities in many areas, including justice. The Aboriginal justice agreement must be driven by the Territorys Aboriginal community, not preconceived government or political priorities. Our government is prepared for what must be the first step in this process: listening to Aboriginal Territorians. To the Territorys Aboriginal community, our government will listen to you and we want you to be involved in the process. We will not be a government that forces top-down agreements onto you, your families, your communities or your traditional lands. We want you to be involved in the process. A critical part of what our government has heard so far, particularly from Aboriginal Territorians, is that there must be a better way for our justice system to operate. There must be, in one phrase, more justice in the justice system. Our government does not accept that gaoling more and more people for longer and longer is a solution to societys problems. The Territory has gone down that path, and it is a path of failure. Our government is also aware of the grave incarceration and recidivism rates and statistics in the Northern Territory. Our challenge will be to work with the community on creating expert-driven evidence-based strategies that will reduce incarceration and recidivism by offenders. We must, and will, develop specialised justice responses and best-practice diversionary and rehabilitation programs. Our government will focus on grassroots programs to break the cycle of offending. Our government will do all these things because, in the reality of crime, better solutions are the only way forward to protect Territorians from becoming victims, or to protect victims from their perpetrators. Our government has immediately begun work on such reforms to fight the scourge of domestic and family violence. And I acknowledge our Minister for Territory Families. I see that she is someone with outstanding skills and expertise in this area, and I look forward to working with Minister Wakefield on these challenges. Our government will move to legislate changes to evidence laws to support information captured by bodyworn police cameras being tendered in court as evidence in chief prosecutions. This reform will help police with their prosecutions of serious domestic violence offences, and will help mitigate the trauma victims feel when entering our justice system. Our government will also trial a specialised approach to domestic and family offenders in the Alice Springs Local Court. Pending the outcomes of the trial, the government will strongly consider implementing Territory-wide Local Court reforms. As we develop a domestic violence register so police in our agencies can better target the worst of the worst recidivist violent offenders we will also implement reforms to encourage the automatic recognition of domestic violence orders across state and territory borders. Our government will consult widely, listen to the experts and talk to the community about how best to implement future reforms in each of these areas. Listening to experts and the community, and ensuring government decisions are understood is what good governments do. Dodgy decisions behind closed doors undermine the integrity of government. We will be a different government. As the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice my portfolio now includes Licensing Northern Territory. I am excited at the prospect of working with the business community to ensure we get the regulation mix right for their industries. As Minister for Health, I am mindful that we must also get this balance right for our community so it feels safe and strong. Our government will therefore halt the explosion of poker machines in the Territory. In 18 months there has been an increase of over 50% in the number of poker machines located in community venues. We will cap the 1852 community poker machines. This equates to the maximum number of existing machines and

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