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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3903 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Mr Kaine then said that it is very easy. All anybody has to do is comply with the rules. If they comply with the rules, there will not be any problem. That highlighted for me the exact problem we are talking about. It is our job in this chamber to set the rules. I have no problem with that. It is the court's role to apply those rules. That is the distinction we are muddying tonight. Not only are we setting the rules but we are also going to apply the rules in this set of cases.

You are breaching a fundamental issue with regard to governance, as Ms Tucker put it. This is fundamentally about the separation of powers. This is the sort of power that can get out of hand and make it awkward. It leads us into a position where a police officer, as happens in some other jurisdictions, effectively becomes the judge and the jury. That is incredibly unfair on the police officer.

There are very good reasons why we have a separation of powers. In this case tonight they are minor. Nobody is debating that this is a very minor situation, but it still highlights how such principles are undermined. It is about the separation of powers. We respect what our colleagues have put up and their motivation. But we are saying to them that we really want them to think seriously about the issue of governance, the separation of powers and where you draw the line. Make the rules tougher and tougher but let the courts apply them. That is basically what we are saying.

MR QUINLAN (8.04): In large part I agree with Mr Moore. I hope he is right in ascribing higher motives for this legislation. I have a personal growing disquiet that this might be part of an agenda based on the John Laws school of logic to appeal to a particular constituency. If we keep going this way, appealing in this manner, I am concerned about where we will be by 2001, by the next election, and where, if this next Assembly is of a similar constitution to this one, we will be by 2004.

I have to lend my full support to Jon Stanhope's observation that this is bad law and to his statement of fact, confirmed by Mr Kaine, that some people will lose their jobs, their earning capacity and their capacity to provide. Some will not. Whether or not they lose their jobs will not be based upon the degree or the heinousness of their crime. It will be based upon their particular employment circumstances, on factors that have nothing to do with the case that they had to answer. This law commits an injustice. In this place today an injustice has been committed. It will be committed again and again in the future while we head towards this increased propensity to mandatory sentencing and the limiting of discretion and justice within our justice system.

MR OSBORNE (8.06): I am trying to get something positive out of what Mr Quinlan just said. I could not find much other than the fact that he finally supports Jon Stanhope on something. I am sure Mr Stanhope is breathing a deep sigh of relief upstairs now that finally Mr Quinlan has come out in support of him. How long that will last, who knows?

I would argue that the injustice in this issue is that people who drink and drive are not being sent a clear enough message. The injustice is that people are putting their lives and the lives of people in the community at risk by drinking and driving, yet they can go before the courts and come away with their licence. That is the injustice.

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