Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (31 August) . . Page.. 2627 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
It is a question of how we actually go about changing the behaviour of drivers. It has nothing to do with a piece of photographic equipment sitting on the side of the road. He proved the point by saying that when the publicity wore off after four days, so too did everything else drop off and people went back to their own bad behaviour. I am asking the Assembly to approve today an arrangement whereby over the first two months you would get one hint. If you were caught speeding you would get one caution. That would be part of the education process.
No doubt, many of us here have been driving along preoccupied and gone over the speed limit. It is my understanding that, within a tolerance factor of about 15 kilometres an hour, the policeman on the side of the road can choose whether to book you or to give you a good telling off and send you on your way. I have had the benefit of that and, I must say, I have been jolted back into reality and thought it was great. I was not deliberately speeding. It just crept up and the policeman invoked that discretion. That episode of talking to the policeman about what was going on had a profound effect on me and it lasted for a hell of a lot more than four days. Furthermore, the information given to me was instant and had a bigger effect.
The NRMA, which is a great organisation, as we all know, has made a lot of noise about the introduction being accompanied by a publicity campaign. This Government is going to give us a month. They say that they have been doing it for six months or more. They have been doing it for six months or more, Mr Speaker, because we have dragged them kicking and screaming into the public arena over it. I was absolutely amazed by what the Minister said. If the Minister has had so many conversations with the NRMA and everybody else, why is it that he had to sit down and write out what the five Es were while I was speaking? Perhaps he ought to have had another check on the three Rs because he certainly needs them.
As to the five Es, I have to underscore what the NRMA was saying: Go out there and publicise the matter, change people's behaviour up front. If people get a bluey in the mail for a $165 fine with three points gone, I do not want them to say that it is the same as getting an electricity bill or a rates bill. I want them to say, "I have done something wrong and I am going to change my behaviour". I believe that we should give them one caution. Because electronic equipment is being used and everything will be put through an IT system at the end of the day, there will be very little human input. If we want people to change their behaviour, let us give them a shot at doing it.
The Minister talks about having a road safety strategy. Where this whole thing is flawed is that it is not part of a road safety strategy. We have not seen one. Has one been tabled in this place? No. I do not believe that such a road safety strategy exists as far as this Government is concerned. What we are seeing is a knee-jerk reaction. The real reason the Minister does not want to go along with the amendment is that he has misinterpreted what I am asking for, either stupidly or deliberately - I do not know which at this point. He seems to think that we will have open slather for two months. We will not have open slather for two months. Much was made of the fact that we are likely to lose $7,000