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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3887 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

Sometimes one has to look at this in an emotional way because what happens on our roads changes people's lives forever. I refer to Mr Rugendyke, Mr Osborne and Mr Hird as former police officers. One can see their zeal and passion for this, because they are the ones that have had to attend motor vehicle wrecks.

Mr Speaker, I have been in a motor vehicle wreck, and I reject the errant nonsense that we get from Mr Hargreaves, because that is all it is. This needs to be tough. We as a society need to send a very serious message to those who will abuse the road rules, and in doing so abuse all of us because they put all our lives at risk. It is not just our lives - every motor vehicle accident has a multiplier effect down the line.

One of the officers from my department attends every motor vehicle accident in the ACT; he goes to every fatality in the ACT. I do not know how that does not have an effect on him. Every motor vehicle accident is attended by police officers, in many cases ambulance officers, the coroners, fire brigade officers, and innocent bystanders, who happen upon that circumstance.

As an Assembly, we need to send a very clear message that we do not want people to abuse the road; we do not want people to put others at risk. We want to send a very clear message that we do not want them on our roads. If they choose to break the law, then they should wear the full force of the law.

What Mr Hargreaves says is just nonsense. This is about human life; it is personal for people, it is emotional for people. The ripple affect in our community is enormous. In dollar terms, the figures I have is that motor vehicle accidents in the ACT cost something like $180m a year, when the costs of emergency services, trauma services at the hospital, rehabilitation, disability, compensation, insurance, and modifying houses are all added up. One only has to go and talk to the residents of the acquired brain injury places. Many of them are there because of motor vehicle accidents. We need to send a very clear message. The message here is clear, it is unambiguous and it should be said.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (5.42): I have a very brief question to ask of the Opposition. I have heard them say that having minimum mandatory sentences unduly cuts across the discretion and judgment of the magistrate or a judge. Can the Opposition explain to me why maximum mandatory sentences, which exist in all our legislation, do not do the same thing?

MR OSBORNE (5.43): I am sure Mr Hargreaves can accuse those of us that want to support this legislation of being too harsh, and perhaps we are being harsh towards drink-drivers. One could argue that, but I think it is very important that we as an Assembly send a clear message to people who take the risk.

I heard Mr Stanhope say that he would like to see our roads safe, and he thinks there are other alternatives. I would like to hear them because I think we have tried most of the alternatives that Mr Stanhope will churn out. Quite frankly, as I said earlier, members just need to go back to my tabling speech from September of this year when I quoted

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