PRISONER PHILLIP CHOON TEE LIM EARLY RELEASE
Mr BARRY O'FARRELL:
My question is directed to the Premier. Will the Premier explain why his Government failed to make a submission to the New South Wales State Parole Authority objecting to the early release of one of the killers of Victor Chang, or is it just another case of his Government's ongoing incompetence?
Mr NATHAN REES:
I first express my deepest sympathy to the family of Dr Victor Chang for the trauma caused by these events. Victor Chang was an incredible doctor who saved countless lives and gave a great deal to the people of New South Wales through his work as a heart transplant surgeon and also as an advocate. His brutal murder in 1991 shocked all of us, and it is difficult to comprehend why the New South Wales State Parole Authority has decided to release, next month, one of the men responsible for his death. I have been advised that this decision can be revoked by the Parole Authority at any point up to the actual date that the offender is released and that it will consider any submission presented to it before that time. Therefore, the Minister for Corrective Services has requested that Corrective Services New South Wales prepare a submission to the State Parole Authority opposing the early release of Lim Choon.
I have also been advised that Corrective Services New South Wales has made contact with the family of Dr Chang and made them aware that they are also able to provide a victim's submission to the Parole Authority. Corrective Services New South Wales will provide any support that the family requires in preparing such a submission should they choose to do so. We are committed to ensuring that victims are involved in the criminal justice process, and that is why we established the Victims' Register in 1996. Victims on the register are informed when offenders are being considered for parole and they are given assistance in preparing submissions to the State Parole Authority, should they wish to do so.
I understand that because the murder of Dr Chang occurred in 1991, before the establishment of the register, Dr Chang's family were not registered victims. I am advised further that the Department of Justice and the Attorney General, along with the Victims Advisory Board, are currently reviewing all victims services, including the operation of the Victims' Register and that the Attorney General and Minister for Justice have requested that they consider, in particular, how we can ensure that victims of crimes committed prior to 1996 are also included on the Victims' Register, should they wish to be.