Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3590 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
My position on the total banning of fireworks is well known. But what the government is trying to do at the moment is to bring the community with it in change, and I think we should be giving the minister an opportunity to give her legislation a run. I do not think it is appropriate for those opposite to say, "You're going to try something, but bad luck. We're not happy with that. Ban the things."
Mr Smyth: You told me the RSPCA were going to ban it on your first day as minister.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Smyth's mouth is running off like a disused roman candle yet again. But tiny Tom Thumb explosions from across the chamber do not impress me one bit. The government has come up with ways to ban the frightening of animals-and good on it; I think that is fantastic. That is one thing I am concerned about. The second thing I am concerned about is the illegality. I believe we are not talking about fireworks any more; we are talking about explosives-and they will be taking kids' hands off before much longer. There is a gradual move by the government towards a total ban-and it is inexorable; it will happen. It will be like Rachel Hunter's hair: it will not change overnight but it will change.
There was a community outcry for and a community outcry against the banning of fireworks. I say to those opposite that what we need to do is to address both outcries. This government is doing a superlative job. It is trying to bring people with it and not disadvantage the fireworks industry in the process. We have to understand that some people's livelihoods depend on fireworks and they have to be given sufficient time to change. Mr Stefaniak will recall my saying, during consideration of the original report of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs, that the recommendation needed to be to totally ban fireworks and that it needed to come out early enough so that people would not buy in stocks. I said that on a number of occasions-a total ban such as is proposed in this bill will detrimentally affect other people. I encourage people to support the government's legislation and to blow this piece of legislation out of the water.
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (11.35): We have just heard yet another savage blow from Mr Hargreaves in his pursuit of truth and justice in the Assembly. But it is interesting that in the lead-up to the last election a certain would-be minister for urban services told many community groups that on his first day in the job as urban services minister he was going to ban fireworks. I guess we will have to wait until Mr Hargreaves' first day as minister to see this happen, because it is not going to happen under this government, despite the promises and the commitments they made to various individuals in the community in the lead-up to the last election.
This must be the week of poor defences from the government. The stinging attack from the minister against Mr Pratt was that Mr Pratt did not report an incident. But he was not obliged to.
Ms Gallagher: Come on!
MR SMYTH: The minister says, "Come on!"If it had been a notifiable offence, Mr Pratt would have been obliged to report it. On my understanding of the act, the finding of a discarded and used firework is not a notifiable act. The minister can stand up and tell us exactly where in the act-