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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2010) . . Page.. 2200 ..

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.20), in reply: I thank Mr Rattenbury for his support of this bill and I regret that the Liberal Party is adopting the position it is in relation to this bill.

Mrs Dunne: We are supporting it. We are just giving you—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Mrs Dunne, if you want to talk to yourself, could you do so in mime, please? You are interrupting the proceedings.

MR CORBELL: This is an important bill which improves the regime for court-imposed fine collection in the territory. It has been a longstanding deficiency that there have not been alternatives to imprisonment easily available to the courts for those who default on court-imposed fines. And it is a more just measure for the court to have available to it alternatives to imprisonment for people who default on fine repayment. It is for that reason that the government has introduced these changes today.

I note that Mrs Dunne feels that in some way the government’s response to the scrutiny of bills committee process was deficient. I draw to Mrs Dunne’s attention the detailed reply I provided in response to the scrutiny committee, and I am amused how Mrs Dunne brushes it off as a four-page reply that said nothing.

Far from that being the case—and I would like to outline some of those issues for the record—first of all, let us make it clear that in my response I addressed the issues around why the chief executive has discretion to request information relating to defaulters’ property and financial circumstances before considering a payment arrangement. Obviously, I made it quite clear that this is an important provision that is needed should discretion be able to be exercised by the chief executive in relation to those matters.

I went on to address the separation of powers issues. I addressed the issues around the legal basis for the Road Transport Authority to suspend a driver’s licence and vehicle registration. I addressed the incorrect assertion by the committee that the attempt to suspend a defaulter’s drivers licence may result in cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment, which I thought was one of the more extraordinary responses in the scrutiny committee report. To suggest that the suspension of a defaulter’s drivers licence amounted to cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment was, I thought, one of the more extraordinary attempts on the part of the committee chair in relation to this matter.

I went on to make the point in my response about the justification for the chief executive to act on reasonable grounds. I outlined the issues relating to the proposed examination processes in court, which was in open court and involved the registrar of the court, in relation to a person’s ability to pay a fine. I outlined a whole range of other matters in addition to that. This was not some desultory and inattentive response to a scrutiny committee report. It was a detailed response. It was made in good faith and it attempted in good faith to address all of the issues raised by the scrutiny committee.

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