Report ‘not intentionally’ delayed to avoid election impact

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ACT Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury.

THE ACT government delayed the public release of a report into the review of the family violence act until after Labor and the Greens were returned to power.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury has denied the lapse of nine months between the final report completed in March 2020 following feedback after its draft copy and its release in December of that year were politically motivated to avoid scrutiny of an election campaign.

“I’ve been very clear that this is an important report that the government is actually going to follow through on,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The previous government of the ninth Legislative Assembly had “a number of concerns with the report” after it was submitted to the the Justice and Community Safety Directorate.

It was finalised around the election date following instructions in numerous emails from the stakeholders and researchers for the authors to add sentences to a quote and to fix typos.

The Canberra Liberals have been scathing in the Legislative Assembly after the government sought advice to tighten up their own laws against family violence over the numerous of abusers slipping through the cracks of the ACT justice system.

“What has been lost in sight of here in the attempt to create some political mileage is this was a piece of work commissioned by the government to review the act the government has brought in to make sure it was doing what it was intended,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“It was initiated by the government – it’s a government piece of work to help us make sure we are having the best response to family violence that we can.

“That’s what this work is about and that’s why we are committed to following through on the recommendations because we sought them ourselves to make sure we are doing the best job.”

The Greens leader has been forced to speak on behalf of dumped Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay after accusations that researchers were made scapegoats while family members of past victims were still waiting for answers.

Mr Ramsay lost the fifth and final seat in Ginninderra narrowly for Labor in favour of Liberal Peter Cain on October 17.

Mr Rattenbury admitted had the review into the new family violence act not been absorbed by restrictions applied from the pandemic, “this all would have been done faster”.

“The government has never, well, certainly in my comments, has never suggested that this is the fault of the researchers,” he said.

“I have been quite clear in saying the delay was at the government’s end.”

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