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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1046 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

I have no objection to the law - I think it is good law - but we need to make sure that the administrative arrangements through which this law is enforced are right and that they respond rapidly. I am looking at it from the viewpoint of not only bringing a defaulter to account rapidly but also making sure that, once he or she has paid whatever it is he or she has to pay, there is no likelihood of any ramifications that might flow from that. What I mean is that, when somebody has been found guilty by the Magistrates Court and is subject to termination of licence or payment of a fine or whatever, we need to make sure that the enforcement agencies are quickly aware that that person is, for example, under suspension. There is a propensity for people who fall into the category of offenders of this kind very often to just get in their car and drive anyway, and there is a good chance that the police will not pick them up. But, if the police are quickly informed that a person is under suspension, they can keep an eye out. The opportunity for the police to quickly detect such an offender who is ignoring his suspension is important.

I have heard anecdotal evidence that suggests there is a very high percentage of people driving cars in this Territory when the vehicle is not registered and they do not have a licence. Maybe that is because the police are not aware of which registrations and licences have lapsed or that a driver is under suspension. There needs to be a very good system to make sure that the enforcement agencies are aware of the decisions made by the Magistrates Court. Similarly, once a defaulter has made good on the fine, or whatever it is, the system needs to be just as quick in informing the enforcement agencies that that driver is now free. If that is not the case there is a good chance of police picking up a person believing him or her to be a defaulter when that is not the case. So we need to make sure that the administrative arrangements are good, that the court system, the motor registry and the enforcement agencies do talk to each other regularly and on a formal basis, to make sure that not only is the law enforced but also the rights of people who have been caught and have paid the price are not further disadvantaged as a result of that.

My only other comment, Mr Speaker - and perhaps the Minister does not get as close to this as some of us do when we are trying to figure out what these amendments mean - is that this Bill is one that needs consolidating. To figure out what the Act says requires the skills of a solicitor because you have to have a copy of the Act and all the unconsolidated amendments. I submit you also have to have the patience of Job to work your way through the thing to find out what the current law is. I do not know whether the Minister has a program of updating legislation and consolidating it; but, if he has, I submit that this is one that is worthy of some fairly early attention in that regard.

Mr Rugendyke: I wonder whether I am able to speak to Mr Stanhope's amendments at this stage.

MR SPEAKER: No, not yet.

Mr Rugendyke: I foreshadow my request to do so.

MR SPEAKER: You will have the opportunity shortly, Mr Rugendyke.

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