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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3976 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

All we are saying here is, "We do not like burnouts; let us take the vehicles off the road". The police can seize a vehicle just like that - clickety-click. At the moment, the police have the power to book somebody for negligent driving, but do the police have the power to book somebody for suspected negligent driving? I suspect not.

I find it absolutely incredible that we are allowing a person other than a police officer to remove a vehicle. Admittedly, it is at the direction of a police officer; but, at the direction of a police officer, a person can come and knock off my car, paid for and registered by this Assembly, because it is suspected of having been involved in a burnout in Lonsdale Street. I have not done a burnout in my life.

Mr Moore: I have.

MR HARGREAVES: Michael Moore, the Minister for Health, has, and he is Minister for Health because he survived it. Mr Speaker, this is just unbelievable stuff. I think we should just dismiss it out of hand. It is giving to police powers far and above those we would normally ask them to perform. They do not need this power; they have enough power. I do not think that there is sufficient reason for knocking off somebody's car under the guise of national road rules because they are suspected of having done a burnout and there is a risk of somebody dying because of the burnout. I ask the Assembly to omit this clause.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (12.09): Whilst I cannot remember ever doing a burnout, I might have attempted one once and failed miserably.

Mr Hargreaves: You were too heavy, Bill.

MR STEFANIAK: You are probably right there, mate. I was lighter then, but not all that much. I am not going to comment on what Mr Hargreaves said in terms of body corporates. Mr Rugendyke can comment on the rationale for that. But I feel that I should comment on a couple of other points Mr Hargreaves made. I refer to the provision whereby a police officer may act if he believes on reasonable grounds that something happened and his comment about someone acting under a police officer's direction to remove, dismantle or neutralise locking devices and things like that.

Firstly, it is common in a lot of the criminal and quasi-criminal legislation to state that a police officer may act if he believes something on reasonable grounds. That is quite normal. It has been in statutes for many decades. It is a normal piece of phraseology that enables a police officer who does believe something on reasonable grounds to effect certain action as a result of that and then place a person before a court. If the police officer happens to be wrong, that person can plead not guilty and, obviously, the police officer has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that there were reasonable grounds that the person had been committing an offence. There are all sorts of protections there and I do not think Mr Hargreaves should be startled at all by that.

As to someone doing something under a police officer's direction, a police officer may not be expert in terms of neutralising locking devices. If anything, I would see it as a bit of protection for the hoon whose car is being impounded if a professional person actually dismantles or neutralises the locking device as a police officer might not have

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