Attorney General Joe Berinson says Opposition claims that further powers are needed by the Attorney General to grant ex-gratia compensation payments to victims of crime are ill-informed nonsense.
"Not only are all necessary powers already available, but the Government has used them. There have been seven ex-gratia payments approved in the past two years alone," he said.
· special payments to two victims of vicious assaults, which more than doubled the maximum compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act;
· compensation to two women who had been sexually assaulted, where the case did not proceed to trial;
· compensation to a man injured while saving the lives of people trapped in a fire;
· compensation to two separate victims of serious bashings in cases where the accused was acquitted.
Mr Berinson said it was important that these special powers were available to the Government to deal with unusual or particularly tragic circumstances, but compensation should in the main continue to be determined by an independent assessor.
"I am not sure whether it is a case of the Opposition getting their facts wrong once again, or if they really want politicians making all compensation decisions, but there is certainly no valid reason for changing the present system," he said.
The present maximum able to be granted by the independent Assessor of Criminal Injuries Compensation is $50,000, which was increased in July, 1991 from $20,000.