Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 4026 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
So why do we need to go that little bit further? I appeal to members of the Assembly: If you do nothing else, remove these segments from the Bill. Go with the spirit of it. If you have to, revisit it in February and March. We will take up Mr Moore's offer of having a round table where we can thrash it out. But end this personal attack and let us start thinking about reality. The reality is that this is unfair; a bad law; a bad penalty. If you are not happy with the judiciary, get the Attorney-General to have a word to them. Do not do this. Do not go down to this level of thinking. Ms Tucker asked yesterday, "What will be next?". This is next. If we go with this sort of stuff, what will be next? I appeal to you, Mr Kaine, to support the removal of this thing.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, address the Chair, please. Standing order 42.
MR HARGREAVES: I addressed Mr Kaine through you, Mr Speaker, with due deference, of course, and I thank you for your indulgence.
MR CORBELL (5.11): Mr Speaker, I want to briefly enter the debate today because I was a member of the Urban Services Committee while the inquiry was taking place into Mr Rugendyke's Bill. I felt it was appropriate to comment in relation to provisions which Mr Hargreaves through his amendments is seeking to remove. Mr Speaker, the Urban Services Committee inquiry heard evidence that it was quite clear the provisions for impounding and seizure of a vehicle would not act as any real deterrent to individuals undertaking burnouts.
The evidence, I regret to say, overlooked or not taken into account by my other colleagues on the committee, was that in many instances - I accept, not in all - individuals who perform burnouts are in vehicles worth maybe $200 to $700. That is not a lot of money for a motor vehicle. Indeed, many of these individuals keep far more valuable motor vehicles at home. They invest in them a lot of time, preparation work, effort and money.
But these are not the vehicles they use for burnouts. Instead, they purchase, as it was put to the committee, a "cheapie" vehicle - $200 to $600 worth - for the purposes of gunning down a street, revving an engine, performing a burnout. The sanction of impounding, removing, seizing that vehicle was not seen as any real deterrent because it was not an asset in which they had an enormous investment. Indeed, it was an asset that they were not perturbed to see lost. They would simply go out and buy another one for the same purpose. So, Mr Speaker, will this provision work? Based on the evidence of the Urban Services Committee, you would have to say it probably will not. That is a factor overlooked in this debate today.
The other point I want to make, Mr Speaker, relates to the draconian nature of this provision for seizure and impoundment. I am deeply concerned that we are putting in place a law that will have considerable impact on citizens who are around, or under, the age of 18. It is common knowledge that many of the mostly young men who undertake this burnout activity are around, or under, the age of 18. What sort of society is it that imposes a far stricter penalty on citizens who are under 18 than on citizens in their 40s and 50s convicted of a serious drink-driving offence? Do they lose their vehicle? No, Mr Speaker, they do not.