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What the ACT can learn from the Lindt Cafe siege findings

By Greg Cornwell - 30 May 2017 10

Law Courts ACT

The ACT can learn a lot from the Coroner’s findings into the 2014 Lindt Café siege in Sydney and the problem of making laws too complicated and ignoring what people really want.

The Coroner’s findings revealed a tragic tale of mistakes by authorities which had more to do with legal niceties than firmly dealing with the problem facing 18 hostages. The DPP, police communications, not using a specialist marksman, an inexperienced psychiatrist, all contributed.

The ACT’s legal rules and regulations urged on by our bureaucracy suffer from the same constraints due to a convoluted respect for civil liberties.

Take dog attacks. Recently we had the situation of a young boy mauled by two dogs owned by a public housing tenant. As the tenant could not pay, the ACT government was taken to court and the case was lost. Surely if a person or another animal is attacked and a complaint made, the offending dog is destroyed?

Then there are development applications being breached by builders. A labyrinth of steps can be taken to resolve the issue, often with major consequences, particularly to neighbours. Why not have the offending breach of the DA demolished?

A pending matter for the next election is the display of corflutes (campaign signs) following justifiable complaints about their proliferation on public land at major intersections.

Leaving aside why anyone would vote for a face rather than policies one suggestion was to ration the number of corflutes per candidate. Rangers could patrol and count these signs, meaning a whole new set of clumsy rules is established. Why not ban all corflutes upon public land?

No doubt some will maintain justice in all cases will not be served if we revert to simple laws (although this may be difficult with corflutes). However, it can be argued life is becoming daily more complicated and efforts to compensate by addressing civil liberties and privacy concerns are often hindering rather than helping.

An example is communication. How often do crimes occur in the ACT and names, except those of ADFA cadets on sex charges, get suppressed? How often do explanations or apologies, particularly in government or business matters, meet with silence? The ACTEWAGL metre readings over guestimates took weeks for an official response.

Privacy now is used to cover mistakes or to protect someone’s name, irrespective of circumstance, yet we are finding electronic technology otherwise is rendering privacy obsolete.

Complicating the law also leads to delays in court proceedings, frustrating both sides, while an official tolerance to so many irritations of the roads, rates and rubbish variety, makes it seem like ACT officialdom does not care, despite weasel words to the contrary.

Our Chief Minister wants to engage more of the ACT community in consultation about the future Canberra. This is commendable, a move which hopefully will see not just young citizens but also the old involved in discussions.

Will not the outcome of this initiative be that people want to get on with their lives with simple easy-to-understand laws for civilised safe behaviour being enforced, while honest prompt explanations are given for mistakes?

What’s Your opinion?


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10 Responses to
What the ACT can learn from the Lindt Cafe siege findings
Bonkers 12:09 am 03 Jun 17

Consolidator said :

We should be supporting police far more than we do.

+1 Our police service are hard working, and don’t get the recognition they deserve. While I’m getting a bit long in the tooth, I still remember the days in my youth at the Private Bin – occasionally the police would come in, and many patrons treated them with contempt. They’re here to keep all of us safe, treat them accordingly.

Holden Caulfield 8:56 am 02 Jun 17

Consolidator said :

…We should be supporting police far more than we do.

A general purpose hear, hear in response to your closing comment.

And your overall point is well made too. Anyone can be an expert with hindsight.

Consolidator 9:00 pm 01 Jun 17

It is always sad when ill-informed political writers blur a serious issue such as the Lindt coffee shop siege with meaningless and somewhat scattered and unrelated issues. Police in general are faced with numerous dangerous life threatening situations and they are never similar, so you can never be experienced in any one type of action,You may train for various scenarios unfortunately the criminals do not attend the training so they make there own rules and you have to follow their lead. The majority of incident analysts will put their own arm chair considerations to what they personally would have liked the police to have done. Some want the criminal taken out quickly without any other considerations, it has been suggested that a specialist sniper could have been used. Most Tactical Police are trained snipers and in perfect conditions they perform extremely well. In this case however, any sniper needed to understand the the angle of the shot, the density of the window and will the shot be deflected and hit a hostage. Had that happened the Police would be condemned and the shooting officer would have that on his conscience and would be ostracized by the department and the public. On this occasion the Police waited for the criminal to tire so that he would have lessened reflexes for any potential police assault which would minimise police and hostage injuries.
It appears that the police are dammed either way by critics who have never been in a situation where every decision has a consequence, perhaps they should redirect their anger or concerns towards the legal profession who put this dangerous criminal back on the street well knowing his antecedents and police concerns.
We should be supporting police far more than we do.

dungfungus 8:34 am 31 May 17

Lucy Baker said :

Michael McGoogan said :

chiflean said :

Agree Lucy Baker – what a ridiculous analogy! This is going too far RiotAct.

Hey Guys,

remember that RiotACT is a news and opinion platform. Greg is an opinion writer.

We encourage passionate debate between intelligent people who disagree; everyone has the right of reply either by comment or by penning an alternate article.

You don’t yell at your TV for playing a movie you don’t like…

Cheers,
MM.

Absolutely – but it’s fine to point out when a writer has overstepped a social marker and may not have noticed it themselves. As for Dungfungus’s “point” that the murderer’s death might also be regarded as tragic … no comment!

Thanks for indirectly explaining your position on this. If you mean that you are happy to see all terrorists “taken out” without hesitation then you have my agreement.

In the Lindt siege the real tragedy was that this wasn’t done in the early stages when there was clear opportunity.

bigred 7:53 am 31 May 17

While the writer does makes some good points about the many failures of local regulation, I do not think an attempt to link to the Lindt Siege findings is more than tenuous. What would have worked far better is to catalogue what the writer sees as failings and propose a way forward, probably requiring a change in government and subsequent review of the operations of government.

Lucy Baker 10:03 pm 30 May 17

Michael McGoogan said :

chiflean said :

Agree Lucy Baker – what a ridiculous analogy! This is going too far RiotAct.

Hey Guys,

remember that RiotACT is a news and opinion platform. Greg is an opinion writer.

We encourage passionate debate between intelligent people who disagree; everyone has the right of reply either by comment or by penning an alternate article.

You don’t yell at your TV for playing a movie you don’t like…

Cheers,
MM.

Absolutely – but it’s fine to point out when a writer has overstepped a social marker and may not have noticed it themselves. As for Dungfungus’s “point” that the murderer’s death might also be regarded as tragic … no comment!

Michael McGoogan 8:50 pm 30 May 17

chiflean said :

Agree Lucy Baker – what a ridiculous analogy! This is going too far RiotAct.

Hey Guys,

remember that RiotACT is a news and opinion platform. Greg is an opinion writer.

We encourage passionate debate between intelligent people who disagree; everyone has the right of reply either by comment or by penning an alternate article.

You don’t yell at your TV for playing a movie you don’t like…

Cheers,
MM.

dungfungus 8:43 pm 30 May 17

Lucy Baker said :

Sorry, but I think the comparison between a bit of inconvenience to burghers re “too many corflutes” and the tragic deaths of two people in the Lindt siege (along with the traumatising of more than a dozen more) sounds a bit “spectrumish” and inappropriate!

There were three deaths in the Lindt seige. Please explain why only two were tragic.

chiflean 8:39 pm 30 May 17

Agree Lucy Baker – what a ridiculous analogy! This is going too far RiotAct.

Lucy Baker 6:59 pm 30 May 17

Sorry, but I think the comparison between a bit of inconvenience to burghers re “too many corflutes” and the tragic deaths of two people in the Lindt siege (along with the traumatising of more than a dozen more) sounds a bit “spectrumish” and inappropriate!

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