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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 3693 ..

MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

We have gone over this again and again. This is the third time we have gone over it. What part of "no" does Mr Rugendyke not understand? What is it about the will of the Assembly Mr Rugendyke does not understand? It is crystal clear that there is a fundamental issue of principle. He is going to dress it up and say that we do not trust the police. Of course we trust the police to do what they are trained to do, and that is to provide the facts to the judiciary. If the facts are strong enough, the judiciary will act and impose a fine, remove your licence, impound your car or do virtually anything they want. But that is the judiciary. That is the separation of powers.

If Mr Rugendyke does not have faith in the judiciary to do that, then let us see some legislation or see some media stunts by him to start pressurising them to get hard on it. There is no need for the police to impound a vehicle on a suspicion or belief that something has happened. If you cannot provide the information to a magistrate, then you should not be taking action against an individual.

For the third time, I recommend to the Assembly that we vote no to this bill.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (9.26): Some time ago we passed this legislation and it worked for a while. Then something happened to it and the police could not impound vehicles. I was interested to hear the comments made by my colleague the Urban Services Minister that offences have increased now that offenders realise that there is no confiscation, no deterrence.

Deterrence is a very important factor in something like this. It provides for a measure of safety. It is not as if people cannot get their vehicles back. I have had a quick flip through Mr Rugendyke's bill. There are procedures whereby people can get their vehicles back. They are not impounded forever. I would like to hear of any instances of vehicles in custody being damaged and there being a problem as a result. I do not think anyone has given evidence of that. It is not a huge impost on a defendant if their impounded vehicle is returned to them in a worse state than when it was taken from them. If this does the job, with the relevant checks and balances which seem to be in the bill, which I thought we had passed 18 months ago, what is the problem with that?

Mr Hargreaves said that police could use the dangerous driving laws. I have been around the courts a long time, both as a prosecutor and as a defence counsel. Often it is easier said than done. Driving in a manner dangerous is a serious offence. You have to prove that beyond reasonable doubt, and rightly so. It may not be applicable here.

My understanding is that when this legislation was introduced initially and the impounding provision was implemented we saw a dramatic decrease in the number of burnouts. Burnouts pose a very serious danger to citizens watching-life threatening in some instances, from what I can gather, if I believe newspaper reports, which I take with a grain of salt. A motor vehicle weighs a tonne or more. If it is driven erratically around the roads and there are a lot of people around, the potential for serious injury or death is very real.

I do not have a huge problem with saying to a person-and often we are dealing with a young person-"If you do this, you are going to have your vehicle taken away for a period of time. You will eventually be able to get it back, but because you have transgressed you are going to be without it for a while." That is a very salient message to

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