Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 Mr BELL (MacDonnell): Mr Deputy Speaker, as I said in respect. of the Crimes Advisory Committee proposal that is envisaged in this bill in the context of a debate earlier today, the opposition has some reservations. Having essentially outlined those reservations in that particular context, I will not take up much of the time of the Assembly in reiterating them. The bill itself, apart from its purposes, has some fairly standard provisions for establishing committees, and that aspect of the bill is essentially unexceptionable. However, as I mentioned this morning, we believe that this 1 egi slat i on will dup 1 i cate what has been done already in essence by the National Committee on Violence and, therefore, we have some reservations about the proposal. The functions and powers of the committee as set down in clause 7 are, in fact, good evi dence of the sort of dup 1 i cat i on of effort to whi ch I referred this morning. In the opposition's view, the government would do well to save the money that this committee will expend on deliberating and duplicating the efforts of the National Committee on Violence and to spend it on the establishment of counselling services for victims of crime and on applying the experience of victim impact statements in the states. I know that the Attorney-General is impressed by some of the innovations introduced by the South Australian Labor government. I believe it was during the last sittings that we saw the introduction of the victims levy, a not entirely uncontentious innovation which had been implemented previously in South Austral ia. I bel ieve that, if the Attorney-General is so impressed with those innovations, he ought perhaps to hasten the introduction of victim impact statements, counselling services and so on. I addressed those issues when commenting on the Chief Minister's statement this morning and I do not intend to reiterate my remarks. Whereas the opposition has no fundamental objection to a committee of this sort, we are not really convinced that it is as desirable an initiative as other possibilities in this area of services to victims of crime. I can imagine that the Attorney-General is very keen to pick up his record in this regard. I need scarcely remind honourable members of the appalling performance of the Attorney-Genera 1 and the government in re 1 at i on to the crimes compensation issue last year, a performance which caused serious concern to many people. The Attorney-General suggested in hi s second-readi ng speech that there are serious philosophical difficulties with actually doing anything at this stage. I find it difficult to accept that the services to which I have a 1 ready referred - the counsell i ng servi ces, for example - cannot be instituted forthwith. I appreciate that they will cost money and that the advisory committee is a nice cheap deal which gives the appearance of action. I trust, however, that the Attorney-General will address this matter in his reply. In conclusion, the opposition finds it difficult to accept that this bill is anything more than a window-dressing exercise and urges the government to respond with the positive measures which I have already suggested. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH (Koolpinyah): Mr Speaker, I will be brief in my remarks in support of thi s bill. I support it and I hope that it is successful. I agree with the view of the member for MacDonnell that it has an air of window-dressing. In general, however, I believe that it is a step in the right direction to consider the victims of crime before the perpetrators of crimes. We spend, and have previously spent, far too much time considering the rights ~f the perpetrators of crimes and our 8822
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