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Stefaniak says Labor soft on crime and Stanhope gets catty

By 23 November 2005 5

Following on from the passage yesterday of new sentencing legislation, shadow Attorney General Bill Stefaniak said the ACT Government is soft on crime because they didn’t pass the Liberals’ amendment.

The ABC said the Opposition wanted to toughen the sentences available for a range of offences and introduce standard non-parole periods, bringing the ACT into line with NSW.

Mr Stefaniak said, “The bill that passed today simply does not go far enough. It says the Stanhope Government is soft on crime and it gives far too much weight to the rights of the criminals and virtually ignores the rights of victims of crime. The Stanhope Government has today ignored its constituency and allowed the ACT to continue to be seen as a soft touch when it comes to sentencing of criminals.”

These comments are interesting in light of recent stories here in which many among you have noted the apparent leniency of our judiciary.

Jon Stanhope retaliated today with one of the more catty press releases I’ve seen in a while. It opened with, “Shadow Attorney General Bill Stefaniak was obviously in need of a long holiday, if the short- and long-term memory lapses he evidenced yesterday were anything to go by”, and continued along in the same vein.

The Chief Minister took offence at Mr Stefaniak’s accusations of being soft on crime because “Mr Stefaniak and his Liberal colleagues unanimously supported the Bill in the Assembly” [his emphasis not mine].

“This is bizarre in the extreme, to vote in favour of a piece of legislation, then rush off to issue a press release arguing that the very laws to which you have just agreed give too much weight to the rights of criminals and virtually ignore the rights of victims of crime,” Mr Stanhope said.

The other memory lapse Mr Stanhope said Mr Stefaniak suffered from was in relation to the Human Rights Act. Apparently the shadow Attorney General expressed some concern the provisions for non-association orders in the new sentencing legislation may contravene the Human Rights Act.

“In fact,” said the bill of rights’ father, “the provisions, along with the rest of the sentencing legislation, have a certificate of compliance with the Human Rights Act — a fact of which one would hope Mr Stefaniak would be aware, since he is the chair of the scrutiny of bills committee, whose job it is to ensure that proposed laws comply with the Act.”

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5 Responses to
Stefaniak says Labor soft on crime and Stanhope gets catty
Thumper 11:58 am
23 Nov 05
#1

The Comrade’s behaviour is becoming increasingly bizarre. (See previous post re Muslim community)

Perhaps the shadow of $91 million is playing on his mind.

Indi 12:02 pm
23 Nov 05
#2

I’d like to comment but alas the Prince has not provided the opportunity to scrutinise his media releases online.

Kerces 1:12 pm
23 Nov 05
#3

Apologies, I have actually quoted a fair chunck of his release but here it is in full:

Kerces said :

STEFANIAK’S MEMORY LAPSES A WORRY

Shadow Attorney General Bill Stefaniak was obviously in need of a long holiday, if the short- and long-term memory lapses he evidenced yesterday were anything to go by, Chief Minister and Attorney General Jon Stanhope said today.

There could be no other explanation for Mr Stefaniak issuing a media release accusing the Government of being ‘soft on crime’ in relation to its new sentencing laws, on the very afternoon when Mr Stefaniak and his Liberal colleagues unanimously supported the Bill in the Assembly, Mr Stanhope said.

“This is bizarre in the extreme, to vote in favour of a piece of legislation, then rush off to issue a press release arguing that the very laws to which you have just agreed give too much weight to the rights of criminals and virtually ignore the rights of victims of crime,” Mr Stanhope said.

“Sadly, however, the memory lapse was not the only one to afflict Mr Stefaniak yesterday. In the adjournment debate he was so keen to mount his tired old hobby horse and have a swipe at the ACT Human Rights Act that he inadvertently cast doubt on his own competence. Referring to concerns expressed by a small number of lawyers in relation to provisions of the sentencing laws dealing with association orders, Mr Stefaniak said the provisions seemed to offend the Human Rights Act.

“In fact, the provisions, along with the rest of the sentencing legislation, have a certificate of compliance with the Human Rights Act — a fact of which one would hope Mr Stefaniak would be aware, since he is the chair of the scrutiny of bills committee, whose job it is to ensure that proposed laws comply with the Act.

“It is difficult to account for such erratic statements. One can only assume that Mr Stefaniak would do anything in order to criticise Government actions, even when his rhetorical contortions do nothing but expose his own inconsistency.”

Statement Ends
Media Contact: Penelope Layland 6205 9777 Mobile 0438 289 714 penelope.layland@act.gov.au

DT 1:52 pm
23 Nov 05
#4

There’s far too many assumptions in Stefaniak’s release to take credibly. How about an example of how an offender in Qbn gets a lighter sentence than one in the ACT? It couldn’t be too hard to find one. Or how exactly does the legislation focus more on the rights of criminals than on victims?

There may well be truth to what he’s saying, but without those details, it’s just another amateurish whinge.

colsim 2:52 pm
23 Nov 05
#5

Not sure about catty – Big Jon’s only problem is taking the fevered rantings of Stefaniak in the least bit seriously (“the other guys are soft on crime” – puhlease, been reading your intro to opposition colouring book again Bill?)

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