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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 3 May 1995) . . Page.. 108 ..


Mr Speaker, this very simple piece of legislation simply facilitates that ability, so that a driver coming to a red light, provided the road is clear and it is safe to do so - it is covered under section 112D of the Act - may proceed to carry out a left turn. We have all felt the frustration of being held up at a red light when the road is clear and there is no reason why we ought not to proceed. We know that this system works efficiently in other places. When I lived in Canada in 1979, this was in operation there. It always seemed to me to be a particularly efficient way of moving traffic along and avoiding traffic being caught up. There is always an environmental issue when vehicles are stopped and idling when they need not be held up. There is also the issue of efficiency and the amount of time that people spend in their cars. These are the two prime issues that this very simple piece of legislation deals with. I recommend it to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr De Domenico) adjourned.

BILL OF RIGHTS BILL 1995

MR CONNOLLY (10.46): Mr Speaker, I present the Bill of Rights Bill 1995.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CONNOLLY: Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, it is with some regret that the Bill of Rights is being moved as a private members Bill from opposition. Apart from the obvious reason that one would prefer to have been moving it from government, I would have preferred to have seen this continue as a government initiative. Indeed, when we were in government we had some cause to believe that commitment to developing the concept of a Bill of Rights in the ACT enjoyed a measure of bipartisan support. It was with some disappointment that I read media statements from the Attorney-General some weeks ago to the effect that the idea of a Bill of Rights was one that did not find favour with the Government. It was with great regret that I saw yesterday, when the legislative program was published, that the Bill of Rights Bill was not on that program.

Members will see that this Bill is pretty much the Bill that was introduced as an exposure draft by me as Attorney-General in December of last year. To that extent, I pay tribute, as I did then, to the work of officers of the Attorney-General's Department and the Parliamentary Counsel's Office in producing a model of a Bill of Rights which has been subject to a lot of interest in Australia. The initiative was taken by the former ACT Government. The then Chief Minister announced at the 1992 election that Labor in government would look at a Bill of Rights - a continuing piece of Australian political history, something that Lionel Murphy tried to introduce unsuccessfully, something that at one stage Gareth Evans tried to introduce, again eventually unsuccessfully. We pledged to develop, and indeed we did develop, a Bill of Rights. We now find ourselves in opposition and the Liberal Party in government, but I would hope that that work was not in vain.


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