11 October 2022

'We're listening to you': Rattenbury responds to grieving parents but wholesale sentencing, bail review a no-go

| Lottie Twyford
Join the conversation
Blake Corney's father Andrew, Opposition spokesperson for police Jeremy Hanson, Lachlan Seary's mother Janice and Matthew McLuckie's dad Tom

Blake Corney’s father Andrew, Opposition spokesperson for police Jeremy Hanson, Lachlan Seary’s mother Janice and Matthew McLuckie’s dad Tom. Photo: Lottie Twyford.

When Blake Corney’s father Andrew, Lachlan Seary’s mother Janice and Matthew McLuckie’s dad walked out of the Assembly chamber this morning, not one of them had a dry eye.

Each of those parents had lost a child in horrific circumstances – all of them the blameless victims of road trauma.

The group of bereaved parents turned advocates had just watched Opposition spokesperson for police Jeremy Hanson move a motion of no-confidence in Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury after the latter refused to commit to an independent review of sentencing and bail.

The Attorney-General survived the motion and the Opposition was accused of playing politics.

Mr McLuckie said he was very disappointed in the Chief Minister, in particular, who did not acknowledge the victims of crime this morning as he provided his support to Mr Rattenbury.

All three parents said they wanted a review.

READ ALSO Three schools offer extra counselling after multiple holiday road fatalities

Mr Hanson said he would not give up on this issue.

“The fight isn’t over. We may have lost this battle, but we will not lose the war,” he said.

“Give me a substantive reason and I will stop … Do you think I will stop? Do you think Tom McLuckie will stop? Do you think the other victims of crime in this room will stop?”

Mr Hanson railed against the government’s “inexplicable” refusal to commit to something so simple.

This afternoon, a motion moved by Mr Hanson called on the government once more to commit to a review.

That also failed.

floral tribute at crash site

Two teenage girls were killed in a crash on the Monaro Highway on Sunday. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Mr Hanson said the weekend’s fatal crash on the Monaro Highway, which left two teenage girls dead, was further proof something needed to be done.

The alleged 16-year-old driver of that car has been charged with two counts of culpable driving causing death, as well as breach of bail and a good behaviour order.

But Mr Rattenbury accused Mr Hanson of being unaware of the full circumstances of the alleged driver’s life nor of the support they had in the community and if they were participating in any programs for rehabilitation.

“Those are all the details the courts have … as they try to make balanced decisions to get good outcomes for the community,” he said.

“I agree with the system … that trusts this great decision to the judiciary.”

READ ALSO Commanding city corner move for three federal departments/agencies after land sale

Mr Rattenbury said every death on the road was a tragedy and his heart went out to anyone who lost a loved one.

“We could have a one-off review, but I don’t think that will make a difference,” he said.

Mr Rattenbury said he had met with the families and heard their concerns.

“I understand these families are in terrible pain … the government is working on these issues.

“We’ve seen a polarisation of views in the chamber today, which I think is unhelpful.”

READ ALSO Stand by for traffic chaos as construction begins on London Circuit project

He said sustained work – such as the recidivism strategy and Transport Canberra reviewing traffic offences and penalties – could make more of an impact.

The Justice and Community Safety directorate was also reviewing how prior conduct was taken into consideration when making bail decisions and was working with ACT Policing on issues relating to motor vehicle theft.

Mr Rattenbury also highlighted work underway to set up the sentencing advisory council he had announced last week.

READ ALSO Monaro Highway fatal crash highlights need for sentencing, bail review: Hanson

Ultimately, Mr Rattenbury accused Mr Hanson of running an extreme position that the government could not support.

“We’re going to make a difference by investing in breaking the cycle of criminality,” he said.

“We can’t keep doing it the way we have done. Our jails will just fill up, we will have to build more, and when those people are released they will come back out and keep reoffending.”

READ ALSO Why do the Canberra Liberals love a no-confidence motion so much?

This was the fifth no-confidence motion moved by the Canberra Liberals this electoral term.

Mr Barr accused the Canberra Liberals of devaluing the serious nature of no-confidence motions by moving so many.

“No minister has the confidence of the Opposition, that is politics,” he said.

He called on the Opposition to lay down its weapons and engage constructively on these issues.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
HiddenDragon8:56 pm 12 Oct 22

“We could have a one-off review, but I don’t think that will make a difference,” he said.

Of course not – there would be zero interest in any inconvenient findings of such a review, just as there would be in the findings of an independent review of progress towards this fantasy –


If only the ACT government was as good at solving problems in the real world as it is at pumping out nice-sounding waffle.

I shake my head at some of the insults and personal abuse coming from these comments. Those in government who are trying to remain relevant using Facebook and media to stoke anti Labor and Green feeling over these terrible tragedies. Not to mention using the parents and taking advantage of their grief for political advantage!! How grubby!!

This comment can’t be from the same Jack D, who last week called people who disagreed with him on another law and order issue frothing at the mouth “rednecks”.

As for the rest of this comment, when exactly should the community talk about these issues seeing as these tragedies are an all too frequent occurrence?

The government could easily defuse the issue by reviewing the processes in this area and truly consulting on what the community sentiment is, rather than expecting us to take their word that they know better.

It’s very telling that they don’t want to engage on this issue, definitely grubby, just not in the way you think.

Thanks Chewy for summing up so perfectly my sentiments. Yes we currently have “rednecks” frothing at the mouth over these latest tragedies. Instead of restrained and informed commentary we have personal insults and abuse directed at elected politicians thanks to a compliant media. All this grubbiness has been spurred on by an irrelevant Liberal opposition. These Canberra Liberals are spiralling into insignificance and are using media and grieving families to gain political advantage to remain relevant. Thanks again Chewy!!..

Yes exactly Jack.

We have those who can’t help but excuse and engage in extremely bad behaviour when it suits their own partisan politics and ideology but then turn around and complain about others behaving in a similar way.

It also fits perfectly into how they also want to constantly downplay and excuse repeated and ongoing criminal behaviour from certain sections of society whilst actual victims are left to suffer.

The hypocrisy is immense, so much so that they continue to obliviously double down on their grubby behaviour when called out.

Ironically though, Andrew Barr has now apologised for his own poor behaviour in the chamber yesterday. If only they would now convert those words into actions.

Yes Andrew Barr did apologise and good on him for that. This is after all of the personal insults and abuse he and Shane Rattenbury have experienced over the past number of months. I have never excused or condoned bad or antisocial behaviour and do not take a hardline or armchair view of it. I prefer to look at law and order in its broader complexities. You appear to be excusing personal abuse and insults in this debate rather than a more restrained and informed conversation.

Can’t see where I’ve excused anything.

Unlike yourself who clearly has excused personal abuse and insults by engaging in it.

There are people out there who will use anything as an enabler to engage in violence, personal abuse and insults directed at particular people and politicians. We are seeing this with feedback to this site over the recent road tragedies. These tragedies have drawn these people out and have provided a catalyst for them to engage in personal abuse as they try and find scapegoats. I have no hesitation in calling them for what they are “rednecks”. My dictionary tells me that a redneck is a politically reactionary person. They are enabled by mostly right wing politicians and a compliant media. Point me to where I have engaged in or personally abused any politician Chewy?

That’s some mighty spin there.

Firstly, redneck is not just a description of a reactionary person. I’m not sure what dictionary you’re reading, although there’s a potential that you’re only reading one half of the text with the pesky one closed eye that you seem to have.

The term specifically refers to poor, white people, typically from rural areas. It is used as a derogatory and abusive term.

Secondly, the rest of your comment is just a very weak rationalisation to excuse engaging in the very behaviour you claim to be against. The vast majority of criticism of the government on this issue hasn’t involved any form of serious abuse or insults. People are emotionally invested on the issue and that clearly shows, even in your own comments.

Thirdly, I’m not sure what you personally abusing politicians has to do with it? Are you saying they deserve specific deference and protection in debates above what normal citizens deserve?

Only a couple thousand people signed those petitions despite all the media coverage, pretty sure community sentiment is pretty clear.

You’re right, that level of engagement is extremely high for an online petition of this nature that was started and run by individual citizens and not even seen by most people. Seems that community sentiment is clearly in favour of better controls.

But I dont think we shouldn’t take those type of polls and significant online interactions as definitive, if only there was a better way to consult the wider community on the issue……

I know, they could conduct some sort of independent review.

Good idea Raphael.

Here is an example of how IGNORANT Shane Rattenbury is,
In the 90’s he was a customer of a bicycle shop in Braddon given his passion for bicycles. It was reported at the time that Canberra had the highest rate of bike theft in Australia and the same story was reported in 2020. And the status quo remains, no security in public ‘housing’ where they are literally everywhere dumped or pulled apart for fun. An attorney general who refuses or can’t see the wood for the trees in relation to this sort of low level crime (when it should be obvious to him as he lives in the area where it is prolific) is not capable of his position as he cannot possibly respect the common good as it shows that he is lacking in basic observation skills ,hardly fitting for an AG . STEP ASIDE AND DO THE WORLD A FAVOUR.

William Newby6:51 pm 11 Oct 22

Rattenbury clearly has zero concern for the matter.
Any review, if conducted, by Barrs team would only suggest more speed cameras in 40/km zones, target the pockets of minor one-off speedsters.

Repeat offenders continually let off with less than a parking ticket, two more killed this weekend by a 16 year old who is out on bail.

What more is there to know?

How many more children must be killed before Labor acts?

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.