Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2494 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
Of course, there are the people who are trying to get into the hospital. If they go out to accident and emergency and they are told, "Sorry, we have got no beds tonight; you cannot come in", when they go back to the car park they will be really happy that there is no sticker under their windscreen-wiper. They will be really thankful for Mr Moore's foresight. They will be really thankful that he spent a lot of time worrying about this instead of worrying about the provision of a bed for them or a spot on the methadone program so they can get their methadone.
This has to be a bit of a joke. What do we do next? Because we see little spots of chewing gum around the place, do we ban chewing gum? You might do that. They did it in one Asian country. I am not allowed to mention which Asian country, otherwise I may cause an international stir. I will not mention "recalcitrant". We might get to the point where we ban chewing gum. We might get to the point where, because it is popular, we ban stuffing leaflets in letterboxes, under doors and so on. There was one place - again, overseas - where you had to have a haircut before you were allowed into the country if your hair was too long.
It just gets to be so ridiculous when you go to the point of legislating about these sorts of issues. How many more things can you legislate against? It is just a lot of nonsense. I think it is fair to say that, if you polled the community, you would discover that most people have at some time or another been upset by a piece of paper stuck under their windscreen-wiper. So, it might be seen to be a popular thing to do; but is it a sensible thing to do? My view is that it is not a sensible thing to do.
Mr Moore: It is enormously popular and environmentally sound.
MR BERRY: My colleague Mr Stanhope made the very good point that this is a restriction on the right to speak, because motor vehicles have been used for ages as a means of putting information out to people about all sorts of things. Mr Moore mumbled about the environment. Mr Moore, if you were serious about the environment, you would ban the motor car, too. Then you could not stick the leaflet under the windscreen-wiper, because the motor car would not be there. Let us not get carried away about this. Yes, it is an environmental issue and, yes, it can be a litter problem. But how about using a little bit of intellect to come up with some sort of alternative idea? Apply some intellectual assessment to some different ideas to deal with the problem rather than legislating against it.
A few of us, including Ms Tucker - I was not responsible for this idea; I just repeated it - with a very small amount of application of grey matter, came up with a good idea: Put a sticker on your windscreen and then we would not have to legislate against the right. Some people, obviously, do not mind receiving this sort of stuff - - -
Mr Smyth: Do we legislate about having the sticker there or not?
MR BERRY: It could be a plastic sticker or whatever. But we would not have to legislate against the right. It is just so silly to be legislating against everything. Because it is unpopular, we will legislate it out. Mr Speaker, I just think this is a lot of nonsense.