Page 864 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 March 2005

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Dr Foskey, I certainly accept your apology for not talking about it earlier. You represent a party and a couple of portfolios and I totally understand that things get very difficult at times; so there is no problems at all there. I am not upset in any way about that. These things happen, and I totally appreciate the difficulties that you face.

I take the point made by the attorney about the discrepancy with other acts. I was racking my brain trying to bring to mind a particular act where there would be a provision precluding someone who was convicted of an offence of dishonesty from undertaking a certain job or trade. I think the legal and medical professions might be there. I just cannot recall the provisions in the acts, but I think there are some there. I would certainly want to look at that because that is a good point, I think. As Ms MacDonald said, real estate agents deal with the major purchase in most person’s lives, their home. That is a quite valid point as well.

I am still unclear as to whether this is a real problem. I thank Dr Foskey for mentioning that a member of the Consumer and Trader Tribunal mentioned it to her, but I also asked whether she had actually talked to the real estate institute. I would certainly want to do that, and maybe just a few agents, to see what their views are on it because it may well be that they could be supportive of this amendment.

One point I would make, which is very much in favour of the position Dr Foskey has taken, is in relation to the PCA legislation. In more recent times we have amended it so that people who have second and subsequent PCAs actually have a definite period of licence suspension. I think we still have provisions for licence cancellations. Until those amendments of, I think, three years ago, there was a simple provision that governed the ACT for about 30 years. I think it gives some weight to what Dr Foskey is trying to do. If you had a conviction for PCA, drink driving—and that would include even if you had a very good record—and you got a 556A, which is no penalty recorded, that still counted as your first conviction.

If you had a second conviction within five years—the first conviction was a fine, I think, not exceeding $1,000 and licence suspension of, invariably, three months; I think it could be more, but three months was the tariff basically—there was a licence cancellation. So, in relation to the five-year period, there is a precedent there, Dr Foskey, which I think supports the position you are trying to achieve. So I make that point.

At this stage, simply because I just have not had a chance to talk to other people in the industry and in the real estate institute about this amendment and because of some very real concerns raised by the attorney and Ms MacDonald—and indeed the fact that your office also indicates that there could be a bit more work done, especially in relation to what “conviction” actually means—with some reluctance, the opposition cannot support this amendment today. If there are some real issues here—

Mr Stanhope: We would support an adjournment.

MR STEFANIAK: I would certainly want more information. I think there is a lot of merit in what you are trying to do, but there are also some potentially big problems which none of us seem to appreciate. We are basically all not sure on a few very important facts here, so I think—

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