Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3906 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

expect this Assembly to pass this legislation. I am delighted to see that a majority of members are going to do so.

Some of the comments by some of those opposite, whilst well meaning, are very much a smokescreen. I do not think those members appreciate how serious this is, what actually occurs in court and how much latitude the courts have given to people in the past and will continue to give to them in accordance with this legislation. This legislation tightens up a lot of problems that have occurred in the past. It gives courts necessary guidance. They still have discretion. Some of the comments from those opposite miss the mark.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (8.15): I thank the Assembly for their in-principle support of this legislation. It is a large piece of legislation. The fine prints cover a range of the operations of road safety and the management of our road system in the ACT. Bar perhaps the one point on minimum sentencing, we have agreement that this is a good thing. That is an indication that the Assembly can work well together.

On minimum sentencing, it is clear we have a divergence of views. I believe the position that the Government has put forward over a period of time, starting in 1997, then with the support of Mr Osborne's Bill in 1999 and culminating here today, is an indication that we take road safety very seriously and that we send the strongest message that we can to those who continue to drink and drive. It is very important that they not be allowed to get away with the damage they do to other lives. That they damage their own lives is true, but all too often it would seem that the pain, the agony and the suffering are inflicted on other families. There are times when it is very important to send a clear, concise message in the strongest possible way. That is something that the Assembly should do. We do it today, with the majority support of the Assembly. I thank those who support this legislation.

Mr Speaker, this package was put together very quickly. There are two important groups that need to be thanked. I thank Mr Hargreaves of the Labor Party, Mr Moore and others who have acknowledged the hard work of the staff from my department and the staff of the Parliamentary Counsel. I particularly acknowledge David Handley, Matt Gamble, Eva Capeder, Wayne Daly, Steve Crofts and Steve Blair from my department. I apologise to anybody I have forgotten. Most of them are here with us this evening. We thank them for the work that they have done in putting together a very sound package. For the size of the package, the number of amendments would indicate that they got it pretty right. We congratulate you for the work that you have done.

John Leahy and the staff from Parliamentary Counsel are always behind the work the Assembly does. We cannot survive without them. For a very extensive package, you are worthy of our praise for the work that you do, getting amendments for the Labor Party, for Mr Rugendyke and for the Government. We need to acknowledge that these people work with great skill and great dedication. They give of their knowledge and allow us as MLAs to do our job better. We thank them all for that.

This legislation is a comprehensive reform of transport in the ACT. It allows for the implementation of the national road rules in Australia. That is a tremendous achievement for Australia as a nation. The first gift to the nation in the year 2000 is that

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .