Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 3408 ..
MR BERRY (5.56): Mr Speaker, I find it hard to search out a reason why we need to duplicate many laws which already exist. Yes, there are some areas covered by this legislation which are not covered by other laws of the Territory but, on the whole, I would have to say, and I have been here since 1989, that I have never really seen much difficulty in the will of the people, if we can describe it that way, being exercised in the parliamentary sense. I do not think it has been inhibited by the laws which now guide us in our everyday life. We do enjoy the privileges of elected office, and they are weighty privileges which have to be treated with respect. They have been long recognised in law and there are certain protections which are provided for parliamentarians or legislators in this country, and for good reason. It is not because they are ineffective that this Bill comes forward.
I go back to a comment I made earlier in relation to the motor traffic legislation. We are getting to the stage where, if people have little to do, they come up with legislation to improve the count. If this Bill was never introduced I do not think the ordinary community out there would notice. If it were to be passed I do not think the community would notice because the changes that it would bring about are insignificant. I therefore think this is another piece of legislation that we are debating at this late hour which will be of no particular useful purpose so far as the ordinary taxpayers are concerned.
I did see elements of the legislation which refer to the precincts. Where I park my car many other members of the community can park too, as visitors and so on. It is a public street, I think, according to the Motor Traffic Act, and people can be booked. Indeed, they can be breached for traffic offences in that area. I do not see a need for it to be treated any differently. If there was repeated difficulty for members gaining access to this house I might then say we have to rethink this.
Yes, there have been some tense relations between the Assembly and people in the community, but even when I have been the centre of that controversy I have never felt threatened. That might be because I am a bit foolhardy about these things or it might be just that I was not threatened. I rather think it was the latter. I do not think I have ever been threatened even when I have been at the centre of some contentious issues.
Ms Carnell: I have to say that the bus drivers got a bit funny.
MR BERRY: The Chief Minister interjects and says the bus drivers got a bit funny. That would not be the first boisterous demonstration out the front. There may well have been some behaviour that you would not like to see happen in your lounge room.
Ms Carnell: Spitting was a bit iffy.
MR BERRY: That is an assault.
Ms Carnell: So I should have - - -