Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2492 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
I have a number of concerns with the legislation. We rush too readily into legislation. It is simply not appropriate. We do not, in this community, need to provide a penalty of up to $1,000 for a community organisation, for instance, wishing to advertise a fete or some such thing. I also do not believe that the evil which this legislation pretends to correct is that great an evil. It is not a significant problem in Canberra. The problem of leaflets under windscreen-wipers is not the sort of thing over which any of us wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat. It is a threat to free speech. There are some legitimate reasons on certain occasions - not actually taken account of in this piece of legislation - why we might, from time to time, want to stick information under windscreen-wipers. For instance, a car park may be closed or some road arrangements may have changed. There is a whole range of other official reasons why one might, from time to time, want to advertise a particular circumstance to a motorist in that way.
I think there is another issue, which was touched on briefly by my colleague Mr Hargreaves. I was minded of it just this morning in reading today's newspaper. There is not a single detoxification space available in Canberra. I just raise that as one issue in the Minister's portfolio that I think demands his attention more than littering car parks. I think the Minister should be thinking more about whether or not he really does intend to privatise the Canberra Hospital than about whether or not patients at the Canberra Hospital have leaflets under their windscreen-wipers when they come out. That is if they are lucky enough to get in.
I think this really is an unfortunate diversion of the Minister's time and attention from the incredibly pressing demands of his portfolio. The issue uppermost in the minds of the people of Canberra is whether or not they have access to a public health system that they have a right to expect and demand. Whether or not a Minister who can flash around introducing legislation on litter has got his mind well and truly focused on the needs of the public health system of Canberra raises serious concerns for me. I would urge the Minister to concentrate on the issues within his portfolio and to simply scrap proposals such as this.
MR QUINLAN (4.45): Mr Speaker, I actually rise to congratulate Mr Moore on his sense of humour and breadth of thought in his attempts to rack up the body count of legislation. I do not want to say much more except that, consistent with our approach of a positive contribution to government, and given that we have the two Ministers here, I suggest that they get together, we vote this down and we issue with every car registration sticker another discreet little sticker that says "No junk mail". It is optional. If you do not want to receive the notices, stick that on your windscreen-wiper, and we will have the best of both worlds.
MR BERRY (4.46): As the debate crystallises, the ideas that are coming forward obviously have not been thought of by this mob opposite.
Mr Stanhope: "Feel the Power of Canberra" on those stickers?
MR BERRY: Yes. We can look at this Government's performance with the Feel the Power of Canberra campaign, yet we ban putting leaflets under windscreen-wipers! They will be the memorable parts of this Government's performance throughout this term.