Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1820 ..
Ms Follett: Yes, you did.
MR HUMPHRIES: No, I did not say that. My words were, "I would need considerable persuasion before I would accept that those cameras ought to be adopted" - not that I did not want them; not that they were not going to happen. I said that I would need considerable persuasion.
The irony of that position is that I was persuaded to that point of view by Terry Connolly, the former Police Minister in Ms Follett's own Government. A couple of years ago, I was about to put out the very release which Ms Follett put out last week. I took the precaution, the sensible precaution I would have thought, of talking to the Police Minister's office and was persuaded by Mr Connolly that, in fact, there was a real problem with red-light cameras and speed cameras. What a pity Mr Connolly is not still around, because he might be able to talk with Ms Follett and perhaps give her a few pointers on this subject as well.
We will be looking with considerable care at all of these issues. Red-light cameras, I might point out, are in some circumstances likely to actually cause accidents rather than prevent them. In fact, the police also advise me that, although there are the occasional accidents at intersections in Canberra where people travel through a red light and hit a car travelling through on a green light, that number of accidents is quite small and has not figured significantly in the accidents that have caused damage or loss of life. I think we also need to look at the cost. To equip the top 20 intersections in the ACT with red-light cameras would cost something over $1m - a very large cost to have to meet. We are right to say that we would need persuasion to pick up those things. What a pity Ms Follett could not be consistent between her old life as Chief Minister and her new life as a member of the backbench.
MS McRAE: My question is to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as Minister for Housing. Minister, I refer you to an article in the Canberra Times of 14 June under the headline "ACT magistrate slated for not ordering two evictions". The case revolved around the decision of the Commissioner for Housing to use the New South Wales Landlord and Tenant Act 1899 to evict two tenants, rather than the much more liberal 1949 Landlord and Tenant Act which allows magistrates far wider discretion to decline to order evictions on grounds such as hardship. Minister, on 11 March 1996 the Attorney-General gazetted a declaration that the Housing Trust should be specifically excluded from the Landlord and Tenant Act 1949. Why was this done? What reason does the Government have for wishing to exempt itself from the 1949 Act, which applies to all other landlords in the ACT? Is it the official policy of the Government to exempt itself from laws which allow for clients of the Government to be treated with compassion and decency?
MR STEFANIAK: I thank the member for the question. I think, Ms McRae, you will find that the exemption which the Attorney issued in March 1996 related to an inability by Housing to successfully evict anyone. There was a backlog of cases in January and February, I recall, as a result of a decision which should have been gazetted by the Commonwealth but which had not actually been signed by the Commonwealth Minister.