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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3871 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

to be an exceptional case. It is a case where the person who has infringed has not been prepared to go through any process at all to have the matter resolved. In this case I support the Minister, it is painful for me to say, and I oppose Mr Moore.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (4.35): Mr Deputy Speaker, as no doubt my colleague would say, the Government certainly would be opposing Mr Moore's amendment here. Mandatory penalties are an absolute necessity in a number of areas. There has been, in terms of traffic areas, and especially in relation to things like drink-driving, a lot of precedent going back 15 or 20 years in terms of mandatory penalties. There is a very good reason for it.

As Mr Kaine says, there is a process. There is a process in relation to this particular subclause we are debating. There is a process too in relation to other parts of this particular package of Bills. I note in relation to some of those other parts, for example, people actually have an option of not taking a suspension, but seeking a 12-month good behaviour bond. If they breach that, in the terms of the legislation, further penalties flow.

This legislation seeks consistency across the country. It is essential that people be sent a message, after due process. Mr Kaine is quite right. There is a process that certain behaviour will not be tolerated; that they face a penalty everyone is well aware of, enforced by virtue of the mandatory provisions of this Bill, consistent across the country. It is crucially important when we are dealing with road safety. Mandatory penalties for certain traffic matters have been with us for some 20 years. Interestingly enough, we have seen significant inroads made into the road toll over the past 20 years; greater safety as a result of a more concerted effort and stronger action taken by legislatures in getting serious about motor traffic offences. That has flowed through legislation to the courts.

One of the biggest problems in the ACT over the last 20 years has been in such things as what the court can do for special licences. One of the biggest problems the ACT courts had - often expressed to me when I was a prosecutor - was no real option but to give special licences for certain first offenders and people deemed first offenders in PCA matters. All someone had to do was comply with certain parts of the section and they would get that, even though the courts did not necessarily want it to happen. It is important that legislatures send a message to people who are going to transgress the law, who have had ample opportunity not to do so. That is why we have a process here.

It is eminently fair that there are, where appropriate, mandatory penalties. I completely reject Mr Moore's view. In terms of road safety, it is crucially important that we have uniformity across the country. It would be ludicrous in terms of this general package if the ACT were to be the odd one out in terms of the other States and Territories. This is an important package of legislation. It has been generally well thought through. There is very much a need for mandatory penalties as indicated in this instance and, indeed, in the other Bills where, no doubt, Mr Moore will seek to remove the mandatory penalties.

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