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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3904 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

This issue is about trying to save lives. I have said it twice this evening, and I will say it again. Look at the data from when I tabled my legislation in September on the incidence of drink-driving offences and repeat offenders. It is quite clear that a new approach has to be taken. I have no problems with supporting this legislation. I believe it will send a very clear message to the people who take the risk of drinking and driving.

I fully expect that, as Mr Kaine has said, some people will lose their licence and possibly their job. There will be the odd occasion when that happens. But I would argue that the greater good far outweighs those isolated cases. I would argue that we are creating a tough environment. The odd person, perhaps you could argue, could have been treated differently, but I would suggest that what we are doing for the community as a whole far outweighs the rights of the odd individual.

This is not about moving down the road of the Northern Territory, as Ms Tucker alleged. I have no plans for mandatory sentencing or whatever it was she was talking about. This is about drink-driving. This is about attempting to save lives. Some of the nonsense that has come from those people opposed to this legislation has done nothing to assist the debate. I am pleased that the legislation is going through. I look forward to supporting the Bill when it is finally voted on.

MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (8.09): One of the Bills we have been debating tonight facilitates the passage of the Australian road rules. The road rules will be a disallowable instrument laid before the Assembly, and they will be accepted or amended, as the case may be, by the Assembly. I simply look at one of these, road rule No. 130, and I think of Mr Lou Westende, a former member of this place, and I think of the legislation he introduced in 1992. It was his very first Bill. It was a Bill to provide that on multi-lane roads where speed limits exceed 80 kilometres per hour people should be required to keep to the left. I remember that Mr Westende was quite crushed when the Assembly did not pass his legislation. He thought it was shocking that he could put forward such a sensible piece of legislation and it was not accepted.

I am very pleased to note that tonight the Assembly facilitates the passage of the Australian road rules and allows the passage, in due course, of road rule 130, which provides for drivers in multi-lane roads where the speed limit exceeds 80 kilometres per hour to keep to the left-hand side. I am sure Mr Westende would be very gratified to learn that this legislation is now in place.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (8.11): I listened to the debate with interest. Mr Hargreaves was probably a bit unfair on Michael Somes, the magistrate. Mr Somes is a very experienced magistrate, and I think he has just been saying what a number of magistrates have been saying about what they see as necessary guidance as much as anything else on things like special licences and when they should and should not be granted. This package of legislation certainly assists the court much more than had previously been the case.

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