Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 641 ..



contempt it deserves. That is all I wish to say, Mr Speaker, other than that it does put the lie to just what a stunt this whole escapade was. It was a stunt from start to finish, and the finish of it actually is the proof. The proof is in the pudding in those concluding remarks. They were scurrilous. That is proof that this was never meant to be a serious debate. It was always meant to be a stunt, and that is how it has ended up, a meaningless stunt.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.


Motion (by Ms Carnell ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Judgment Debt for Streetlight Damage

MR BERRY (5.47): I wish to raise a matter which I hope the Government will take notice of. I had a call earlier in the month from a person who was in a mild panic about a judgment debt that he had just received. This judgment debt was for $5,573 and it was from ACT Roads and Stormwater. Apparently, it had been through the Small Claims Court and a judgment debt had been found against him. I made some inquiries on behalf of this constituent and it did not seem to fit together. It was said, Mr Speaker, that the debt had occurred as a result of a collision the constituent allegedly had had with a streetlight, causing about $3,362 damage. Since the debt had not been paid, it had grown with interest, court costs and so on to $5,500-plus. When I recontacted the constituent, I said, "Did you have a crash in your car?". He said, "No, I have never had a crash in my car. I have never made an insurance claim on the car. I do not know what this is about". He was still quite upset about the matter, because some people cannot immediately put a hand into their pockets for $5,000. He was planning to travel as well; so, if it had not been settled before he went, he would have come back with an even bigger debt.

It turns out, Mr Speaker, that this constituent was not the person against whom the debt should have been found. He was an innocent person who had the same name and a similar initial. For some reason, there has been a very serious mistake that has caused a lot of disquiet for the individual and his family. I will not mention the constituent's name, but I am happy to pass it on to the relevant Minister, which in this case seems to be Mr Smyth, in order that the matter can be examined to ensure that this does not happen again. I am confident that the officers that were handling this issue did not do so with malice, but the mistake has caused a lot of disquiet for a constituent. I understand that the matter has now been sorted out and settled. Again, I repeat that I think there is a need for the Government to take this issue into consideration in order that these sorts of administrative mistakes do not occur and cause such disquiet for members of the community.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .