Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 9 Hansard (18 August) . . Page.. 3165..
MS PORTER (continuing):
My reputation stands on its own merits. The reputation of a member is predicated on actions, not on mere numbers or words in a speech, a letter or a media release. I am not so foolish as to believe that I can meet everyone's needs or desires or bring a satisfactory resolution to all the issues that people raise with me. We all know that it is impossible to do this. It is the way one is accessible, listens, understands, accepts and compassionately deals with the issues of concern brought by constituents that is important. I believe that associating my name with the term "rorter"is both offensive and misleading.
Planning, Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services—Standing Committee
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.05): I present the following report:
Planning, Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services—Standing Committee—Report 3—Inquiry into the Crimes (Bill Posting) Amendment Bill 2008, dated 13 August 2009, including additional and dissenting comments (Ms Le Couteur), together with a copy of the extracts of the relevant minutes of proceedings.
That the report be noted.
The Crimes (Bill Posting) Amendment Bill 2008 proposed to amend the Crimes Act 1900 to provide additional offences in relation to illegal bill posting on private and public property. Bill posting refers to the fixing of posters, notices or placards on any public property such as light poles, walls, trees, bus shelters and fences and on private property without permission of the owner.
Historically, people have used bill posters for "advertising public information or public agitation". According to the government submission, the first known complaint about bill posting was published in an Oregon newspaper in 1892. The author decried the lack of sufficient legislation in place after his freshly painted fence was defaced by bill posters. The ascension of this bill by the government suggests that this complaint may still be relevant today.
If enacted, the bill would extend the operation of existing strict liability offences against the marking of private or public property, such as graffiti, in section 120 of the act to include unlawful bill posting. A strict liability offence is one without a fault element, so there is no need to prove intent, knowledge, recklessness or negligence as long as the physical element—bill posting—exists. A prosecution only needs to prove that the defendant's action caused the offence, not his or her mental intent. While ignorance is not a defence under strict liability, an accused may raise the defence of mistake. The defence of mistake is set out in the Criminal Code 2002.
During the consultation process, the question was raised by one submitter that the bill may limit freedom of expression, and one emphasised that it should not be unduly