Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2489 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
We are trying to get a youth centre up in the Lanyon Valley. One of the ways in which we tried to attract people to that particular activity and to get support for it was to advertise various events that were happening at the time. One of them is the Tuggeranong community festival, which is coming up. The Lanyon Marketplace is having a birthday, and the kids there are going to be doing all sorts of things to raise money for the youth centre. A ban on sticking things on the windscreens of people's cars closes off an option for this community group. They are not an incorporated body. They do not have a stack of people behind them. They have got a lot of people who are, in spirit, behind them, but they do not have a lot of shoe leather. This is one way in which we can reach a lot of people, but we are closing that option off.
Mr Speaker, we really need to think about it. On the surface, it sounds like a great idea; but, when I dig a little bit deeper, I am not so sure about it. It is a bit like banning how-to-vote cards at polling booths. All we did was move them to the shopping centres the week before. It does not actually work. I guess what I am saying here is that it is not going to work. Nobody is going to congratulate Mr Moore for winning the legislation race on this one.
I do not think we should be taking away people's right of expression just because we do not like the sight of an advertisement for a McDonald's burger freebie or a Foxy's Fast Foto freebie sitting on the windscreen or because we get frustrated that we are not tall enough to reach over and get it off the windscreen, that the windscreen wipers will not bring it around or that they stick to it. It is an inconvenience. Just because it is an inconvenience does not mean that we ought to take away people's freedom to actually make some sort of an expression.
We are saying in this legislation that, if you write it out by hand and you address it to the guy who owns the car, that is fine. How do we define the driver of the car? If there is a handwritten note on there that says, "To the driver of vehicle YXZ3611", we do not know. The legislation does not tell us that. I would defy you to say whether or not it is in handwriting. Is a photocopy of handwriting sufficient? We do not know. I think that what we are doing is actually taking away the freedom for these young people to do it. If, for example, you were to change the wording and say that it is illegal for a commercial enterprise to stick it on your windscreen, I might be a little bit more inclined to favour it; but at the moment, I know from my contacts with kids, you cannot do it.
Mr Moore: Why did you not draw an amendment?
MR HARGREAVES: With your indulgence, Mr Speaker, I will respond to Mr Moore's interjection. The reason why I did not put in an amendment was that I think it is an absolutely silly piece of claptrap that we should not even be debating in the first place. I think it is an infringement of people's civil liberties, and I urge the Assembly to vote it down.
MR HIRD (4.34): Mr Speaker, I was interested in what Mr Hargreaves just said.
Mr Hargreaves: That is a first, Mr Hird.