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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 12 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 4309 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

In statutory interpretation, you give the words their normal, natural meaning in English and I do not think appropriate diligence is all that difficult. I have not looked at the New South Wales or South Australian legislation but, when the Chief Minister read out what was there, it was not very difficult at all to understand how it would operate in a court. If people have a problem with that, they could amend subsection (6) and put in either the New South Wales or the South Australian defence.

At the end of the day, that is not the real concern of people who are opposing this legislation. That is merely a mask, an excuse to vote against this particular piece of legislation. The real reasons that most of this Assembly are not going to vote for it were expressed by the Chief Minister later in his speech, and so far by Ms Tucker as well. I do not accept those reasons. I do not think that, if you go down that track, you are going to make much difference whatsoever. Quite clearly, even Ms Tucker accepts that the government has not exactly done a huge amount when it comes to addressing the root causes of some of our youth problems.

At the end of the day, no matter what the government does, there will always be some problems. You do need good programs, but you also need good, strong, sensible, tough laws, which people in our community expect. Mr Cornwell should be commended for his very sensible attempt to bring us into line with New South Wales in relation to this problem.

MS DUNDAS (12.23): The ACT Democrats oppose this piece of legislation. We see it as regressive and misguided.

I want to address some of the points Mr Cornwell made in his opening speech. Mr Cornwell argued that this bill would have no undue effect on business or on under-age people who have need of spray cans. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr Cornwell seems to believe that the majority of spray cans sold in the ACT are sold to minors with the sole purpose of producing graffiti. I think that Mr Cornwell is looking at the issue in a rather simplistic way.

To quote from the press release that Mr Cornwell put out on 25 August, "Zero tolerance is the only way to get through to those graffiti vandals who continue to deface public and private property at great expense to the Canberra taxpayer."Well, Mr Cornwell's zero tolerance is going to have a devastating impact on young people, both symbolically and practically.

What about the kids who become panel beaters, whose bosses send them to Autopro to pick up some paint so they can touch up the tyres, or the apprentice painters who, at Mitre 10, can only buy liquid paint but have to get their bosses to buy the spray paint? For an opposition, for a Liberal Party, which speaks at length about supporting young people at risk through apprenticeships and vocational training, to then limit access to the tools of their trade is quite unbelievable.

A lot of the trades that kids at risk are entering require the use of spray cans, be that painting or be that working in metal shops, and yet you seem to think that they should not be able to fully access the tools of their trade to get the training they need to participate in our community. I fail to see the logic in that argument.

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