Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7973


Senator MARK BISHOP (7:25 PM) —I want to respond formally to some of the comments made by the Minister for Family and Community Services in her concluding remarks. Firstly, on the issue of the level of breaches, we are talking about a system designed by the current government. It is, after all, their breaching regime. It is over the last five or six years that the huge increases in the number of breaches have occurred. At the end of the financial year 2000, the number of breaches was 302,494. I want to pick up on a point raised by the minister. In contradistinction to the system that existed under the previous Labor government, yes, the minister is correct to identify that the figures involved in the penalties were higher and more significant. However, as always, the sin is that of omission, because the number of breaches in the last year of the previous government— the first year of the Howard government— was an estimated 104,000. There has been at least a tripling of the number of breaches in the last five or six years. The other point I note in passing is that there has been a reduction in the rate of breach activity of 35 per cent in the last quarter, but it is still in excess of 60 per cent over the figures of the previous Labor administration.

Having made those points, I want to turn briefly to the McClure report. The basis of that report was for a participation support orientated system. Participation, as we all know, costs money. You need adequate financial resources, and of course the achievement of breaching is to deny those resources to persons who are attempting to participate. People obviously need adequate financial resources. One of the consequences of a person being breached is that those resources are removed for a particular period of time. In that context, my question to the minister is: does the government support a breaching regime that is participation focused?