Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 3400 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
The Bill refers to an attempt to break any motor vehicle speed record. That would involve speeding, in my view, and if that was the case police have power to act. Trial the speed of a motor vehicle. That again would involve the driver in a breach under other relevant legislation. Compete in a trial designed to test the skill of a driver or the reliability or the mechanical condition of a vehicle. I am not quite sure how far that is meant to go, but if you have some difficulties with, say, the brakes of your machine and if you happen to be a home mechanic and you have adjusted the brakes, you have to try them somewhere. It strikes me that that could be construed to be a trial designed to test the skill of a driver or the reliability or the mechanical condition of a vehicle. It seems as though it would almost certainly apply to somebody who runs the local service station or garage for the repair of vehicles. So that one troubles me a bit. I think that is going a bit too far. There are a lot of unnecessary attempts to legislate where powers are already available.
I know that the Bill refers to the holding of a permit and so on, and maybe there is a need, as set out in Division 2, to have provision for approved events. While it is set out here that the Chief Police Officer, and, I suspect, his delegate, could give approval for those sorts of events, there is no provision to review the decision of the Chief Police Officer if there is a disagreement with the way that he has arrived at the decision. So I think there is a basic flaw in the legislation in that respect.
I see in the Bill another provision:
A person shall not knowingly burnout a motor vehicle on a public street where any petrol, oil, diesel fuel or other inflammable liquid has been placed on the street surface beneath, or near, a tyre of the vehicle.
There are already provisions in the Motor Traffic Act, as I understand it, to prevent people releasing anything on the roadway, and I think that even includes water. I do not know why, but this is being confined to petrol, oil, diesel fuel or other inflammable liquid being placed beneath or near a tyre of a vehicle. You do not have to use any of those. In fact, other lubricants have been used for those things, I am informed. You do not necessarily need to use any mineral spirit or inflammable liquid to create the lubricant to enhance the spinning of wheels, so I am informed. Some washing detergents will assist.
I do not think enough thought is being given to this. In any event, I am not sure that we even want to do it. On that score, I would be perfectly happy to vote against this Bill in principle because I think it smacks a little bit of a nanny-state trying to legislate on anything. It was not long ago that there was much criticism out in the community about leaflets under windscreen-wipers. Just how far do we go with legislation? When we run out of things to do, do we come up with some wild legislation to prevent people from doing things? Then we at least can say, "Well, look at my legislation count for the year. I've got much more stupid legislation than anybody else in the place, but I've got much more". I worry that some of these things fall into that realm, where we are ending up with legislation for legislation's sake.