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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1501 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

road at any one time in this territory. So, in a sense, I agree with Ms Tucker: I do not think this is really going to achieve anything.

There are laws that protect victims of road rage-for example, for assault, reckless driving and threats against the person. These laws need to be enforced so that the victims know the avenues for them to follow and police can follow through on these complaints. It should not be that the police officer necessarily has to see it; people who feel threatened should be able to go to their police officer and get something done about it.

The government ought to educate motorists on how to control their anger. More often than not, road rage occurs when someone does their block in a motor car. We need to have some anger management education for motorists.

Mr Quinlan: Valium.

MR HARGREAVES: I am not quite sure about that! Labor believes that the power to impound vehicles should rest solely with the courts. Police should collect evidence and present that evidence in court. If the courts are satisfied with the evidence, the courts should direct the vehicle to be impounded. The onus on the police is to provide evidence to the courts. Labor does not support the police having this power to impound a vehicle. On a practical level, by the way, we will lose a police officer for half a shift. It is just a PR exercise.

I am assured that there is support for this amendment, and I trust that that support is forthcoming. The power to take people's property ought to rest with the courts, and we should not put that responsibility onto police officers, not even former police officers, like Mr Hird across the corridor.

MR RUGENDYKE (6.44): I will not be supporting the amendments put by Mr Hargreaves. To support these amendments and thereby almost completely dismantle this piece of legislation would be to show a complete distrust of the police, as Mr Hargreaves apparently does. I, being a former police officer, trust the way police handle their powers. I have witnessed and kept abreast of the way the discretionary use of the burnout legislation is being used by police, and they have shown that they are entirely trustworthy in using the power in an appropriate manner. My trust in the way the police do their work will not allow me to support Mr Hargreaves' amendments.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (6.45): Mr Speaker, the government will not be supporting the amendments, simply because, as the example of the burnout legislation has so clearly proven, the threat of immediate seizure is a very effective and potent tool. Taking this threat out of the act weakens it considerably. With that in mind, the government will oppose the amendments.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (6.46): Mr Speaker, as with any arbitrary power, this power is entirely inappropriate for police to have. I argued this on the burnout legislation, and I remain of that view. I will support Mr Hargreaves' amendments.

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