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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3880 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

them of the horror and the agony that motor vehicle accidents inflict upon far too many people in our society. They do not get a second chance.

What was done in 1997 has put people back on the road who do not deserve to be there. Under this legislation, in exceptional circumstances you can apply for a special licence, as is appropriate. But what we should not be saying to people is that you can go out, commit a crime and at any time expect to continue to drive. Mr Kaine knows this legislation well; it was his legislation. Mr Osborne last year, in response to what Magistrate Somes was saying, resurrected Mr Kaine's legislation. It is almost word for word the material that Mr Osborne put forward.

Understanding that this was an opportunity to discuss road legislation in the whole, it is appropriate that we do consider this because these are some of the most serious outcomes of any road legislation and any activity on the road - how we judge those who have committed serious crime. I know that the majority of the amendments that will be moved today will relate to these sections of the Bills. The Government will be opposing them all.

My legal adviser has just clarified something. Section 556A means that you keep your licence rather than losing your licence and getting a special licence. For first offenders, they can get a minimum disqualification. If the circumstances warrant it, the law can give them a special licence. This is important; this is serious. Those who are affected, killed or injured never get the opportunity to apply for a special life. Their life is over. Those who are injured, those who carry with them injuries for life, do not get an opportunity to go to a magistrate and seek a special life either. What we should be sending here is a clear message.

Given the concerns raised by the judiciary last year, I believe the inclusion of these sections in this legislation is not only appropriate but also very desirable. I take on board Mr Moore's points about principles, but the reality is that those who commit offences of culpable driving, negligent driving, furious, reckless or dangerous driving, menacing driving and repeat offences choose to do so. We should choose to tell them that they are wrong. The Government will oppose all of these amendments.

To keep the rest of the debate as brief as possible, the Government will oppose any attempt to water down this legislation because we simply believe it is wrong. The Government and Mr Osborne voted against it in 1997. I think history has proven that they are right. It is appropriate that we include these amendments now.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (5.15): What Mr Smyth has argued is something that we do not particularly disagree with. The power of the legislation, the impact of the legislation, the message it sends us is absolutely critical. I do not think any member is disagreeing with that. That is why we are supporting the main thrust of the legislation. But this small part of the legislation does raise fundamental issues, and that is what we are trying to deal with.

The problem Mr Stefaniak seems to have is that magistrates get it wrong. I imagine there are times when all of us think a magistrate or a judge has got it wrong, from the information that we have received. And, occasionally, no doubt they do. But, if we make

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