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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3885 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

substantive logic, they should not introduce such drivel. Those opposite should not make such personal attacks every time they open their mouths. They tempt me to do the same and I try to resist.

This legislation, generally speaking, is good. It is tough and it needs to be. But it does not have to be without compassion. I defy each and every one of us to stand up and say that he or she did not do something stupid between the ages of 18 and 25. We have all done it; we have all run the risk.

This piece of the legislation does not allow people that second chance if they have been stupid. The sanctions contained in here send the message that we are not going to tolerate this sort of behaviour. But we will not stop the kid who is 19; he will do it. We just cannot stop it. I am asking for a little compassion so that these people can have the opportunity to put their case before the courts. I hope that the courts would act with considerably more compassion than I have seen displayed here today. Quite frankly, I feel absolute disgust in the pit of my stomach because of what I have seen and heard here today. I make no apologies for it.

MR RUGENDYKE (5.34): I really cannot let Mr Hargreaves' speech go without comment. He talks about compassion, civil liberties and whatever else he prattled on about. Mr Speaker, we are talking about legislation designed to save lives, as Mr Osborne said. We just need to look at Mr Smyth in a pair of shorts to see what sort of damage drink drivers can do to people. To put on a tirade such as that of Mr Hargreaves totally misses the point. But we all have broad shoulders; we can take it. We know that he is off on a tangent. I will not be supporting Mr Hargreaves' amendment.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (5.35): I just speak briefly to reiterate the point made about these sorts of provisions, this removal of discretion from the courts. I rise to support the case made by my colleague Mr. Hargreaves. I think those of us who disagree with this approach to the enforcement of the laws need to keep saying that this is unacceptable and wrong as a matter of principle and that we will not support it. It is my position. I do think this, as a matter of principle, is a wrong approach.

I do not believe that it will in any way achieve the outcomes that some claim for it. I do not think that removing a discretion from the courts can in any way be paraded as a component of a road safety strategic plan for reducing the particular incidence of drink-driving. There is a whole range of strategies that we should adopt in relation to that, quite rightly, but I do not think removing discretions from the courts to look at the individual claims of people will in any way achieve the outcomes that are being claimed for it.

In passing, I comment on the suggestion that there are magistrates, apparently in the courts here, who would willingly abandon the discretions that they currently have. It seems to me quite a remarkable approach for a magistrate to take. He says that he does not want a discretion, that he is basically there to perform some rote function, that he has basically become some sort of computer. Section 67 gets punched in and the answer comes out. The magistrate would no longer be required to exercise his mind on the

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