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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3876 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

on that person's capacity to continue to care for them or look after them. The obvious sorts of cases relate to situations where there is perhaps a single parent attempting to care for a large number of children - circumstances the courts do, these days, take into account in issuing special licences.

This is in no way to condone the behaviour. This is simply a debate about appropriate ways of enforcing justice; allowing and entrusting in our magistrates and our judges and our court system; trusting them to administer justice in the best interests of the community at large; ensuring that all the facts and factors are taken into account; that justice is served; recognising that justice is not, and will never be, served by simply imposing blanket penalties, irrespective of the circumstances of cases. It is no way to run a justice system. It is a vote of no-confidence in our judiciary and it is quite inappropriate and a dangerous precedent for us to be setting here to head down this sort of path basically in pursuit of some notion that we have got to be tough on all criminals; that we are continuing to pursue, unthinkingly, this sort of law and order agenda in this place; that we are moving constantly to the right; that we are cracking down all the time, more and more for appearances sake rather than actually for any genuine attempt to improve the administration of justice in the ACT.

We, as a community, will be the poorer for this sort of proposal. There will be families, significantly disadvantaged - - -

Mr Berry: Poorer people too.

MR STANHOPE: That is right; no doubt about it. It is the people who cannot afford the big fancy lawyers It is the people who cannot afford to roll up to court day after day to pursue every sort of legal possibility, down every burrow. It is the people who cannot afford high-priced lawyers that will suffer more as a result of this sort of approach to justice. It is the sort of approach that hammers down on the poorer people in the community, people struggling already to access justice. Access to justice is incredibly expensive and difficult. We know who will be least advantaged by these sorts of approaches to the administration of justice. This should not be supported by this Assembly. It should not be embraced.

This is a dramatic departure from accepted approaches in the administration and meting out of justice in this place. It is a dangerous move for us. We should not be doing it in the context of this road transport legislation to start with. We should not be doing it in any event. It demeans what we are seeking to achieve here as part of the national approach to road transport. It is simply inappropriate. I urge all members of this place to think seriously about what it is that we do if we set down on this slippery path.

MR RUGENDYKE (4.58): Mr Deputy Speaker, I will not be supporting this amendment by Mr Moore. As Mr Kaine points out, it is an enforcement procedure that follows a process that the offender, when he fails to pay an infringement notice, has a series of steps to go through. Subclause 45(3) simply stops the revolving door; simply stops people going from one door of the court to another to pick up a special licence. If this section were taken out, who would pay their fine? You would be silly to pay your fine. There would be no consequence. I will not be supporting it.

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