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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3123..


MS TUCKER (continuing):

suggest that the vote was not informed by a full understanding of the issues. It would give me a reason to continue to lobby on any given issue, saying, "You obviously did not understand this bit. Did you understand this bit?" When the numbers change, you would say, "We want to debate it again because of the change in the numbers." It is a precedent that has other implications.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves made reference to standing order 136, which says that the Speaker "may disallow". The matter has progressed beyond the Speaker ruling, because Mr Rugendyke has moved suspension of standing orders. I am happy to leave it to the Assembly to decide this matter. I do not have to rule on it. I may do so. I have elected not to do so and have left it to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.

Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2001 (No 2)

Mr Rugendyke presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR RUGENDYKE (10.48): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The bill aims to reinstate the capacity for police officers to seize motor vehicles within a 10-day period of the vehicle being used by a person to commit burnouts and street racing offences. This policing tool was implemented by the Legislative Assembly in 1999, bringing the ACT into line with New South Wales, and remained until removed earlier this year during the passage of legislation relating to road rage offences. The removal of the police seizure powers for burnouts was contrary to the intent and purposes of the original legislation, and this bill reinserts this fundamental element of these laws.

Mr Speaker, the outcome of the road rage debate had an impact on burnout laws that did not accurately reflect the will of the Assembly. The burnout laws were endorsed on two occasions-the first in late 1999 as part of the then Motor Traffic Act, and again last year in an amendment to the revamped road transport legislation package. Based on the two previous burnout votes and my discussions with other members, it would appear that removing the power for police to seize cars involved in burnouts or street racing does not accurately reflect the majority position of the Assembly.

As we know, when the legislation was in place, the police used the discretionary power in the legislation cautiously, sensibly and to excellent effect. As far as I am aware, fewer than 20 vehicles were impounded during the time of the operation of the police seizure powers. I am sure the police minister will have the exact figures, and I am sure that he will concur that the police made every effort to ensure this tool was utilised only in the most severe circumstance and certainly not in trivial circumstances.


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