Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 4027 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
The imbalance between these two groups highlights that perhaps it is easier for society as a whole, and its agents, such as this Assembly, the police or other parties, to come down heavily on individuals under the age of 18. They do not have the franchise or the same weight as older people in these sorts of debates. I am not for one minute condoning the activity of burnouts. I am not a person who instinctively has a great affinity with any sort of motor vehicle activity. But I am interested to ensure that these types of provisions are put in place fairly; that the sanction be consistent with the offence, and workable. This provision fails those tests. I urge this Assembly to consider exactly what sort of message it is sending younger people in our community if it cracks down disproportionately compared with penalties for more serious offences committed by both younger and older citizens.
MR KAINE (5.17): Mr Speaker, as suggested by Mr Hargreaves and Mr Corbell, this section gives me most cause for concern. But it is not the whole of the section. Mr Hargreaves' seeking to omit all of it leaves me in the same quandary. The bit that concerns me is 139L(1)(b):
In the case of a second or subsequent offence by an offender, the vehicle shall be forfeited to the Territory.
That is the bit that bothers me. I have no difficulty with the proposal in the case of a first offence that the vehicle be imposed for three months. I think it is a reasonable penalty to take the car off the road. You say to the guy or the girl, "Sorry, come back in three months' time and you can have your car back". That is perfectly all right. But as I said before, I do not want to hold up Mr Rugendyke's Bill. Looking at it in a practical sense, if we are going to consider his permanent Bill in February, what time-scale are we talking about? It is three months at most before it becomes law.
We are talking here about a second offence. So for anybody to suffer that penalty between now and March, they have got to get caught twice, and they have got to be processed through the courts twice before the vehicle can be forfeited. How practical is that? The first time they are picked up and they go through court, their vehicle is forfeited for three months. They get the car back; then they have got to go out and commit a second offence and go through the court system again. This is all before Mr Rugendyke's second Bill comes up and is approved in this place. I think the likelihood of anybody, in a practical sense, suffering that degree of penalty before the full-time Bill comes into being early next year is zero. Because there is no practical way somebody could incur that ultimate penalty in the time that remains, I am still prepared to go along. But I am not prepared to remove the whole section.
MR RUGENDYKE: We have passed on from amendments Nos 20, 21 and 22 of mine. I seek leave to fully explain those amendments.