Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 370 ..
MR OSBORNE (continuing):
The Bill clarifies an area of doubt in existing law by ensuring that staff are not subject to legal action because they have published authorised documents. This would include Hansard and other reports and papers. Other immunities are stated in Part II of the Bill. Members should note, and note well, that in this section the Bill I propose is somewhat different from that proposed last year by the Chief Minister. While members cannot be required to attend court during sitting times, I have taken out the provision which prevented their arrest on such days. I have also removed the provision which prevented members from attending court for five days either side of a sitting day. I am sorry; but, although I believe we should observe the primacy of parliament when it is sitting, I do not believe we should protect it in the lead-up to or aftermath of a sitting. Exemption from jury duty is covered in the Juries (Amendment) Bill 1997 passed by the Assembly last year.
Part III of the Bill deals with the Assembly precinct. This area includes the Assembly building, the canopies and the members car park. A statutory offence may apply where a person does not comply with a direction to leave the precinct. It is likely that this would be rarely used. A defence of reasonable excuse ensures that the offence is not imposed harshly. For example, a person may not hear a direction or may be unable to comply. The Bill identifies an area within the precinct which is occupied by the Executive. The power of the Speaker to manage the area will be subject to any agreement between the Chief Minister and the Speaker. I commend the Bill to the house.
Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries) adjourned.
MR OSBORNE (11.14): I present the Motor Traffic (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR OSBORNE: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
I will be very brief on this one. This is an issue that was raised in the previous Assembly. It was defeated, but I have decided to bring it back on. This is a very simple change to the Motor Traffic Act which will make it a requirement that people driving motor vehicles carry their licences when they do so. It is a small but important change to what we now have, Mr Speaker, where people caught without their licences have three days to present them. We issue people with licences so that they might use them while driving. Most people already carry their licences in their wallets or purses when they are out and about in their own cars, so I do not think that this amendment will cause too many people much discomfort. Producing a licence is a quick and simple way for police to establish that a person is who they say they are and, as I said, I do not believe that requiring people to carry their licences is particularly arduous.