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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 7 December 2010) . . Page.. 5811 ..

stockpiled so much because of the Chinese collapse. My office was inundated with people saying, “How dare you! This is our bit. This is what we do.” We have got a jurisdiction that is acutely aware of their responsibilities. I believe they, in the main, handle those responsibilities very wisely and very well. But they are saying that they actually see some value in having access to these bags.

I would urge members not to vote for this bill today. It is the nanny state. It is Mr Corbell trying to be hairy-chested and proving that he is more environmentally sound than the Greens. It is the Greens reacting and saying, “Yes, we will back you up.” It is not proven to have the sorts of outcomes that Mr Corbell and the Greens talk about. It will lead to downside effects for those who will be affected by this.

At the end of the day, the government did not consult and the government now refuses to release its regulatory impact statement. I think that speaks volumes about a government and about what the real intention of this bill is.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.34): I cannot let the opportunity go by and not comment on some of the remarks made by Ms Le Couteur in support of this bill. I think that I need to emphasise for the people of the ACT the sentiments Ms Le Couteur expressed when she said that she was quite happy to see this being a criminal offence. The supply of plastic bags is going to become a criminal offence in the ACT, a criminal offence which is more heinous than supplying alcohol to minors or taking minors to a brothel.

I think that this says a great deal about the priorities of the Greens and the Labor Party in this place. Mr Seselja is right. The fact is that today the planning system is going to hell in a hand basket, we have long hospital waiting lists, we have allegations of bullying in the hospitals being covered up—we have all of these things that are going wrong. The prison is full. What is Mr Corbell doing? He is legislating in relation to plastic bags.

All of these things are of a much higher priority to the people of the ACT than being criminalised—I emphasise it and repeat it—made a criminal, facing criminal penalties, having it on your police record, if some hapless shop assistant gives away a plastic bag to assist somebody. That will come on their police record. What does that do for their capacity to get a job in the ACT public service or when they cease being a shop assistant, after they have finished their study, getting a job as a teacher or whatever? They will have a criminal record. What does this say about the priorities of the Greens and the Labor Party?

Also, it is interesting that here we have again Ms Le Couteur, with the best possible intentions in the world, I am sure, giving us a lecture about how we should manage our putrescible waste in the ACT, how we should wrap it and put it in our bin and then wash our bins later. It would be desirable, perhaps, to have a green bin so that we could properly deal with our putrescible waste. I would remind members that the only political grouping at the last election who took to the election a policy of dealing with putrescible waste, of providing every Canberran with a green bin, of coming up with a solution about how to deal with that waste afterwards in a useful way for the benefit of the community was the Canberra Liberals.

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