Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1049 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Similarly, on the other side of the coin, when it comes to a person remitting their obligations and being again entitled to drive, the mechanisms are in place for that advice to come from the registrar through to the necessary enforcement officers. A police officer who pulls someone over on the side of the road, for whatever reason, generally would have the power to contact a database - I think it is done electronically - to get advice about the status of the particular driver or vehicle. Assuming that has been kept up to date, the officer will have instant advice about the status of that person or car and be able to take appropriate action. Obviously, we need to be vigilant that the information is kept up to date and not allowed to fall into arrears in its daily compilation.
Mr Kaine also suggested that we should consolidate the Magistrates Court Act. Members will see that the effect of the Act is to create a number of new sections with numbers that are fairly large - section 255AA, for example. The Crimes Act is probably in greater need of reorganisation in that way. I recall last night we were referring to sections such as section 349ZZCD, or whatever it was. I think there is a very good case for consolidating the legislation in a way which allows us to go back to No. 1 and start numbering the sections sequentially from there. We have a long way to go before we are in the state of affairs that the Federal Government is in with its tax Act, of course, but that is probably no comfort to us.
I thank members for their support. I hope this legislation will be effective in returning to the community the money which it is owed and in encouraging people in the future not to treat the imposition of fines or infringement notices as a matter of option, and instead to meet their obligations to the community fully and promptly.
MR KAINE (12.27): I seek leave to make another short statement.
MR KAINE: My earlier comments related solely to the Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill, but there was one matter in connection with the Motor Traffic (Amendment) Bill that I omitted to refer to, and that is, new subsection 191NB(5) prescribes that a person whose motor vehicle registration is suspended is not entitled to a refund of the registration fee or any part of the fee in respect of the period of suspension.
Mr Speaker, it seems to me that this is a double whammy. I refer to people who commit an offence, reregister their vehicle and, the following day, are in court for a previous offence and have their licence suspended for a year. They not only have to pay the fine but also, under this ruling, lose an entire year's worth of registration. And that is not an inconsiderable sum today. In fact, we have prescribed that registration fees will increase considerably this year. That seems to be placing people in double jeopardy. They not only pay the fine but also it costs them the registration for the entire period during which their vehicle is, at least technically, off the road and they cannot use it. I can understand the nature of this, but it is not part of the finding of the magistrate. It is something that is prescribed separately in the law. I wonder whether, in today's world, that is not perhaps a little punitive because they are, in essence, paying twice. They are not only paying the fine but also paying up to a full year's registration for which they get nothing.