Attorney-General Brian Wightman.ATTORNEY-GENERAL Brian Wightman has a wide-ranging legislative agenda for 2012, with the sex industry, electoral donations, surrogacy and sex offender sentencing all on his list.
Nanjing Night Net

Sex offender sentencing is one of the more high-profile issues Mr Wightman will be considering.

He has referred the issue to the Sentencing Advisory Council.

“It’s very, very important that we make sure that we have an informed debate,” he said.

Mr Wightman said the council, in its second year of operation, would provide a good grounding for informed debate on a range of legal issues as its members were all experts in the operation of the justice system.

“We all have opinions on justice but at times we’re very reactionary,” he said.

“I think it’s absolutely vitally important that we have a link between the government and the public and the justice system.”

Mr Wightman will also follow up on work done by the council in relation to arson sentencing and said he was expecting the council to soon release a paper relating to assaults on emergency service workers.

He said he was eagerly awaiting a paper from the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute on a review of sections of the Criminal Code relating to child sex offences, which was triggered by the 2009 case of a twelve-year-old girl sold for sex by her mother and a family friend.

Mr Wightman said legislative changes would be made if necessary.

He is hoping to release a discussion paper relating to electoral donations either this month or next, which will look at whether there should be a cap on campaign expenditure for House of Assembly candidates – a cap already applies to Legislative Council candidates.

A long-awaited discussion paper on the regulation of the state’s sex industry is also expected this month.

“It will particularly focus on the health and safety of sex workers and the protection of public health,” Mr Wightman said.

He expects to be able to re-introduce legislation to allow altruistic surrogacy, following an inquiry by a Legislative Council committee.

Mr Wightman said his department was working through the committee’s recommendations and that he hoped to have the amended legislation before the Parliament this year.

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