Territory Stories

Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 19 March 2014



Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 19 March 2014

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Parliamentary Record 11


Questions for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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QUESTIONS Wednesday 19 March 2014 626 __________________________ Suspension of Member Member for Barkly Madam SPEAKER: That was unparliamentary and uncalled for. Leave the Chamber for one hour, member for Barkly, pursuant to Standing Order 240A. __________________________ Mr CHANDLER: I thought I had three minutes to answer the question, which is part of standing orders and, I think, it was on both sides of the House. I answered the question in the first instance; I will get the details of this leasing arrangement. I do not, for one moment, take what comes across from the other side of the Chamber as honest or truthful. We have evidence of it in recent days, in the last 12 to 18 months when they continually came here with information and evidence, and made up stories given to them by third parties which demonstrated the information was clearly incorrect. It is thrilling we have people who have the confidence in Tennant Creek. You would not think the member for Barkly, who supposedly has Tennant Creek at his heart, would be denouncing people who have confidence in the economy, who want to live in and grow Tennant Creek into the place it could become. It will come on the back of good quality developments and providing services for the people of Tennant Creek. Do you know how this will happen? It is through good people with good business sense. The confidence people have in wanting to invest in Tennant Creek should be applauded, especially by the member for Barkly. We look at this man who leads with his chin, the man who is leading the Stella Maris debate at the moment Members interjecting. Mr CHANDLER: The Opposition Leader can sit there leading with her chin when it comes to developments and leasing arrangements. There is more to come in this space. Child Sex Offenders Protection of Children Mr HIGGINS to ATTORNEY-GENERAL and MINISTER for JUSTICE Last week, known child sex offender, Brett Peter Cowan, was sentenced in a Queensland court for the murder of Daniel Morcombe. What laws does the Northern Territory have in place to protect the community from child sex offenders? ANSWER Madam Speaker, my distress on behalf of the Morcombe family is profound. I do not doubt, for one second, every member in this House would wish the best for the Morcombe family in the future in light of the pain and agony they have suffered for the loss of their son, Daniel. Having made those observations in opposition, when I was the shadow Attorney-General, I was mindful of these things and attempted to introduce legislation to this House, if memory serves me correctly, relating to this type of offending. If I did not, I was talking about it in the public domain. The response from the then Labor government was, No, we do not need that type of legislation; the Criminal Code Act will suffice. The problem is when a person like Mr Cowan is placed into a gaol cell for crimes against children - the most obscene and filthy crimes you could imagine - they are still, sadly, given a parole date and given a sentence which comes to an end. This means, at some point, they are released back into the community. When I became Attorney-General, I said to my Cabinet colleagues, There must be more we can do about these vile human beings, who are indescribable in their lowness. I suggested it to my Cabinet colleagues, and was wholeheartedly endorsed, by passing the Serious Sex Offenders Act in the Northern Territory. We have subsequently identified one person in the process, who is now subject to restraint beyond the expiration of their sentence. The laws of double jeopardy require once a person is sentenced for a crime they cannot be sentenced again. This is not to say, when a person like Mr Cowan presents a serious threat to the community, an application cannot be made to a court to have them restrained beyond the term of their sentence when they represent a real threat to the community. I am proud, as the Northern Territory government is proud to have passed such legislation. It is possible, even probable, if Mr Cowan was still in custody in the Northern Territory, we would find such an order from a court and restrain him from going back into the public. That is cold comfort for the Morcombe family, but done anyhow. It is something the CLP government has been proud to do. The Labor government, when in power, had an opportunity and did nothing about it. Ms Lawrie: We referred it to the Northern Territory Law Reform Committee.