Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2498 ..
Mr Kaine: Or sticking to the windscreen, which is worse.
MR RUGENDYKE: Or, in the rain, sticking to the windscreen, yes. So, Mr Deputy Speaker, while I do acknowledge that there are some businesses that might rely upon this form of advertising, I think that they perhaps should be able to do that if the alternative is to bear the $1,000 fine, if this Bill is introduced, for the privilege. The more you think about it, the more outrageous it gets. It also pains me that I feel unable to start Mr Moore off on the legislation race, as challenged by Mr Hargreaves. I feel that I am unable to support this Bill, given the apparent, to my mind, heavy penalty for such a minor offence.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (5.06), in reply: Mr Deputy Speaker, I appreciate the contributions of most members. There is no doubt that this is a sensible, popular and environmentally sound piece of legislation. I appreciate the support from the Government. Mr Deputy Speaker, for your information and for the information of members of the Assembly, when the Government considered this in Cabinet, I stood aside from Cabinet, as is my practice on a number of issues. You may be surprised to find out that it actually happens that at pretty close to every sitting of Cabinet I stand aside for consideration of some matter or another.
The nub of Mr Hargreaves' argument really was that there are more important things that I could be doing. Mr Deputy Speaker, I do do those important things. I would be very happy to compare my six months' work in Health with the four or five years or whatever it was that Mr Berry spent there. I would be happy to draw comparisons between the two in terms of what has been achieved and what has been set down for achievement.
It does not surprise us to hear the other arguments put by Labor, but, really, Mr Berry put the nub of it. It is not about opposition to this piece of legislation; it is opposition to the fact that I have an arrangement with the Government by which I can introduce legislation as an Independent member, as I will continue to do. Yes, it is a different arrangement and it has not been tried before. We are trying it. Interestingly enough, it seems to be working quite well.
I certainly appreciate the very sensible approach taken by both Mr Rugendyke and Ms Tucker, and I think it is appropriate for me to answer the question on penalties. I drew the legislation up and asked for advice on penalties. You heard Mr Rugendyke say that a normal penalty for littering is $3,000. The Bill was drawn up to be consistent with the Litter Act. It seems to me that a judge dealing with a littering crime such as somebody putting litter on a windscreen, a $1,000 penalty, compared to somebody who dropped litter on the street, with a maximum $3,000 penalty, will take into account the circumstances of the situation and the penalty would be levied appropriately. This is about the deterrent effect and asking people not to do this.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I must say that of all the things that I have done in the last year or so, and certainly during the election campaign when I indicated that I would take this approach, nothing has been more popular. I was flabbergasted at the number of people who phoned and the number of people who commented and said, "Yes, that is a good idea at last". I realise that I am 15 years behind Mr Kaine who did this