Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2495 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
Yes, we have devoted some time to it, and we might be criticised for even bothering to speak on the matter if we believe that it does not deserve the attention that we are giving it; but it is just so silly that it needs to be pointed to. It is silly on all fronts. It is silly that the Health Minister is wasting his time on it. He has more important things to do. It is silly that the Urban Services Minister is worrying about it, because he has more important things to do.
What is it next? Is it chewing gum, is it shoelaces, is it haircuts? What about those community organisations and ordinary people out there who do not have access to media streams on their fax machines and so on and so forth? What about people who want to get a simple message out to a few hundred people? This takes away their right to do it. We are going to impose a $1,000 fine on somebody who puts a leaflet under a windscreen-wiper. Well, no wonder people giggle about this place from time to time.
MR HUMPHRIES (Acting Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (4.55): Mr Deputy Speaker, Mr Berry frets about the Government banning everything. He need not worry. The Government will never ban stupidity. So there is always a market left for Mr Berry in arguments like this. This debate is not about leaflets under windscreens; it is about the audacity Mr Moore has shown to initiate a new approach towards the management of legislation in this place by exercising the prerogative to put forward legislation as an Independent member of the Assembly, which he remains, despite being a member of the Government. Mr Deputy Speaker, is it not extraordinary to see how terribly unsettled and insecure the Opposition of this Territory becomes in the light of that development? Their response is: "We have got an Independent member introducing independent Bills, even though he is a part of the Government! Oh, we can't cope!". Hair is starting to fall out or turn grey.
It really is pretty pathetic to view the response of those opposite. There is a word that springs to mind, and that word is "conservative". These conservatives opposite cannot cope with the thought that we could actually innovate on the Westminster system, that we could actually have a Minister who is, despite being a Minister in the Government, still capable of introducing an independent agenda on particular issues. Is it not sad to see that?
MS TUCKER (4.57): The Greens will be supporting this legislation. The main reason for supporting it is that it is about sending out a message to discourage wasteful practices. Basically, this is about paper. It is about paper being given to people in an unsolicited way. It is quite correct that I did suggest that you could have a "No junk mail" sticker on your windscreen, but I was not really serious. Once again, it brings a kind of policing element to it. If you are going to have that and then someone puts it there, there is an issue about making those people accountable anyway. I do not think it is actually the way to address the issue, if it is free speech that is worrying the Labor Party.
Obviously, I do not bring my car here very often at all; but, when I have done so, I have not been targeted by a lot of community organisations. It has usually been by businesses. I think a good example of how you can do it differently, and how I think people should do it, is what happened this week with the rally against Paul Osborne's Bill.