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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 1 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 323..


MRS JONES (Molonglo) (4.15): Today I am very pleased to speak on the great importance of removing unnecessary laws. It is not just important to remove unnecessary laws here in the ACT; it matters also to ensure that our city is well governed and people are given every opportunity to live their lives with freedom.

We would all agree that there are certain laws that are important for ensuring that our society runs smoothly, and we acknowledge and appreciate the implementation of these laws. But we can go too far. Take, for example, the overreaching Greens motion this week to ban pig stalls in a city that has no pig industry and the banning of caged hens where there are no caged hens.

It is a matter of not only not enacting silly laws, but also keeping an eye on laws that are out of date. There are practical reasons for removing unnecessary laws. For example, I believe it to be the case that it is still illegal to drive after dark on any of the main roads of Hobart in Tasmania in a carriage which does not have a lantern burning. While we may not have anything this archaic, laws not allowing a front fence may seem ridiculous to new arrivals in this city.

The federal government has established a regular "repeal day" where the coalition will seek to repeal more than 8,000 redundant federal laws. This is a process which would be of great benefit to the Assembly, as the legislation register should be assessed for laws that are no longer applicable.

If we look at what legislation has been implemented under this Labor-Greens government, it is clear that they are sometimes seeking new areas to impose rules and controls over. Government control via laws in this place seems to be the standard response. As a result, we run the risk of imposing stifling levels of controls over good citizens who are trying to get on with the important business of their daily lives.

The government should act and make decisions to allow people the freedom to better their lives as they see fit. Yet those opposite seem to have another focus sometimes. The use of legislation to "make a point" or "educate people" is, in my view, an abuse of this place, which is why we are unsupportive of the pig stall legislation and other such actions.

We have to guard against intrusion into the private realms of people's lives. Human freedom must be protected from the political temptation to create a nanny state telling people what a small but powerful group of legislators think is best for them. Some examples of a lack of vigilance in this area include the sausage sizzle debacle, regulations regarding the colour of people's fences, the banning of soft drinks in schools, the banning of power boats on the lake and the owners of supermarkets being liable if a shopping trolley is removed from their shop. Not only are we trying to force shop owners to police their customers; we are imposing an added cost of doing business to these sometimes small business owners. And we must not forget the plastic bag ban, which has increased the cost of doing business for many business owners and become an added burden for mums and dads.


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