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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (17 November) . . Page.. 2552 ..

Mr Rugendyke: Who might that be?

MR OSBORNE: Who might that be? Is today Tuesday or Monday? I just find it intriguing, Mr Speaker, that because Mr Tuesday - sorry, Mr Munday - continually embarrasses the Government and continually takes them to court and wins they would feel the need to put up pieces of legislation like this. I quite enjoyed looking at Len's face as I drove up Tuggeranong Parkway during the last election. I do have concerns about this. If we do pass the Bill today, perhaps the Government will consider the code of practice being approved by the Urban Services Committee, for example. Hopefully, that will attract some more comment from the public and perhaps the code will be a little bit more reasonable. I will not be opposing the Bill but thought it important to make those couple of points.

MR RUGENDYKE (11.04): Mr Speaker, this Bill strikes at the heart of democracy. We are no longer able to advertise our garage sales or to advertise our small businesses on the sidewalk. This is what Canberra is all about - the ability to hang a sign on the bridges along Ginninderra Drive or Belconnen Way. When you look up at such a sign, you may laugh when you see the name of someone you know on a sign that says, "Happy birthday, so-and-so". We all chuckle when we see those signs and we all love how much the person named is embarrassed by that sign. Mr Speaker, this Bill does seem rather harsh and heavy-handed. For that reason I will not support this Bill.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (11.06), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank members for their interest in this Bill and take on board the suggestions of the Osbornes. I am very pleased for the draft code to go to the Urban Services Committee for consideration. The code is certainly not to restrict those things that I think really add to Canberra. I would not see the code, for instance, removing roadside memorials to those who have died in motor accidents. I think that they are a tremendous reminder of the responsibility that we all have. Certainly I have no objections to birthday signs. I take on board Mr Osborne's suggestion that we refer this to the Urban Services Committee. If the committee would accept that, they would work on it and come back to the Government with something that meets the needs of all Canberrans.

In the draft code - and I thought Mr Osborne had got to it, and perhaps he did mention it - there is a typographical error. Mr Osborne referred to signs within 20 metres of traffic lights on residential nature strips. They should be two prohibited areas rather than one. It simply means that you have to put a sign in your front yard rather than on the nature strip. It keeps it away from the roadside.

Mr Speaker, I thank members for their support of this Bill. We will take appropriate actions to refer the draft practice to the Urban Services Committee for their consideration.

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