Page 709 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 1 April 2008

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It is similarly the case with offensive behaviour. It worries me that the government is showing its anti-police attitude. It does not quite want to trust the police, who are probably some of the best trained people in terms of exercising discretion in our community, when it comes to knowing when to issue an infringement notice. In New South Wales, just over the border, they introduced infringement notices. Initially, I think there was a trial in parts of Sydney. The number of street offences dropped by 50 per cent. They have similar street offences to ours—fighting in a public place, offensive behaviour and indecent exposure. Those types of offences were all made the subject of infringement notices, and it was particularly effective there.

The police I have spoken to tell me that, by enabling them to issue an infringement notice, it will: one, nip potential trouble in the bud before it gets too serious; two, save a hell of a lot of time because it keeps the police out on the street rather than having to arrest the person and go back to the station for what is essentially a minor offence; and, three, help the defendant because the infringement notice is basically the same as an infringement notice for a speeding fine, and it saves the person the trouble of going to court. Many of these people are well and truly tanked up—full of too much grog and bad manners—and they regret their actions in the morning. Invariably, we will see a lot of these notices paid. Of course, as with any infringement notice, people have the opportunity to contest it in court, should they so desire. That is a feature of both Mr Corbell’s bill and mine.

I commend my bill to members. It is a fairly simple bill. It makes a number of offences prescribed offences so that infringement notices can be issued. It goes further than Mr Corbell’s bill. I think there are already two areas where infringement notices can be issued; that is included in my bill. Mr Corbell’s bill contains four offences, while mine contains a number more. Defacing premises would be a prescribed offence. I think that is partly covered by Mr Corbell’s bill. There are some additional offences on territory premises, such as trespassing. Misbehaving at public meetings is one that his bill does not contain. Fighting in a public place is a crucial one that is missing from his bill.

I have split section 392 when it comes to disorderly or offensive behaviour. Effectively, that is the offensive behaviour provision. I have made it a bit more specific by creating a new offence, under proposed section 392A, of offensive language, which I have already spoken about today, as well as when I introduced the bill. This is of particular concern to people walking through parts of Civic and other entertainment spots. It is often terrifying for women: people who are using very bad language, invariably in a very aggressive manner. This would be a particularly useful offence for police to have. We had it in the past and it would be a particularly effective tool in their armoury; hence that new offence is catered for.

With respect to the old offence of indecent exposure, I think that what Mr Corbell’s bill contains is fine—urinating in a public place. Effectively, that would cover indecent exposure. My bill also covers noise abatement directions and consumption of liquor in certain public places. With respect to the sale or supply of liquor to underage people, an on-the-spot fine would be particularly useful. It would obviously assist in overcoming some of the problems we have seen in recent times. There is also the

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