Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (28 May) . . Page.. 725 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
That is, they should have the choice as to which numberplates they want. However, by 19 May, he had had discussions with his department and with the Motor Registry and he said:
... but we have decided that the process is fine as it is.
We know that since then there has been a great deal of dissatisfaction because, not only are people not being given the option, they are in fact being told bluntly, "There is no option and you will take what you are given". That happened in the Minister's office, according to one report in the Canberra Times. Minister, how do you reconcile your responsibility to the community that elected you here when you started by saying that you agreed that they should have the option, but you flatly refused to take any positive action to ensure that people buying numberplates from the Government have the option offered to them? In fact, not only is it not offered; they are told bluntly that they have no option. Given your starting point that you agreed that they should have the option, how do you reconcile this, and how do you reconcile your attitude to the interests of the public?
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I stand by all that I have said. My understanding is that all the options are on display on the wall as people go in there. There is a "Feel the Power" plate. There is a blank plate. The process is fine. I am very happy with the process, and people have the option of either plate.
MR KAINE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. It is very interesting that the Minister now says that when they go into the shopfronts or into the registry they have this option and it is all on display. On 19 May the Minister also said:
... It is curious because the majority of new plates are actually issued through the motor dealers.
He even went so far as to suggest that I should go and talk to the motor dealers about it, although he is the Minister. If the fact is that the majority of them are issued through the motor dealers, Minister, what information have you provided to the dealers to make it clear that they must give their customers the option? Is this information also displayed in all dealers' premises? If not, why not? In answering that question, can you produce the statistics that support your contention that the majority of plates are actually issued through the motor dealers? I would like to see the statistics if they are available.
MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, again, my understanding is that the majority of plates going out through dealers are the blank plates, or the plates that have just "ACT" on them. If I can get some statistics from the department, I would be pleased to give them to Mr Kaine.