Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 April 2008) . . Page.. 715 ..
for liquor licensees and bar staff. I await the outcome of both those reviews, because we know that this is a live and concerning topic in our community and part of the federal government’s conversation about the excess consumption of alcohol by young people, in particular.
I also hope that the ACT government will take up the greater issue of alcohol advertising and the binge drinking culture which currently exists. The Greens would like to see alcohol advertising limited in the same manner as cigarette advertising. These, of course, are issues for the federal government in the slow but necessary process of reducing alcohol’s visibility and prominence from the living room to the streets. But, Mr Speaker, in changing a culture in which young people believe that they are being very cool by wiping themselves out all weekend, by going to their mates on Monday and saying, “I really lost it on the weekend”—I have heard that sort of language—we have got a bigger role to play than just legislating for larger penalties and on-the-spot fines. Much of this behaviour arises as a reaction to that approach. We, therefore, need a fully concerted approach that is across whole of government and considers the reasons why people involve themselves in such behaviour anyway. Nonetheless, I will be supporting the government’s bill.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (11.17): Mr Speaker, I will be supporting this bill as well. I do echo Dr Foskey’s comments earlier on that it might have been a nice courtesy to know of these changes in terms of the cognate debate. I was happy to debate both bills; I was quite keen to support Mr Stefaniak’s bill. My view has not changed. But I will press on anyway under the new arrangements. I have indicated previously, both in this place and publicly, that I do support the on-the-spot fines that this bill will introduce. I also note that the government’s bill is similar to that introduced by Mr Stefaniak in August of last year. I welcome the opportunity, then, to speak cognately about Mr Stefaniak’s bill today.
I have already indicated in the February sitting period when speaking to a motion by Mr Seselja that I do support the principle of on-the-spot fines. They have been long overdue. Mr Stefaniak deserves some credit on this issue, if for no other reason than he got his bill on the notice paper first. For that reason—it is not for that reason alone—I will be supporting Mr Stefaniak’s original bill. I note his anticipation of its failure. I accept the way the numbers are, but I think if you are going to bring in legislation, there is not much point in doing so if you then basically tell the world that you have got no hope of it going anywhere. It does really make you wonder what the point of being here is.
I will be supporting the government’s bill, as I believe that there is evidence that expanding the list of offences that are covered by on-the-spot fines is appropriate. Antisocial behaviour should not be tolerated in our society. I believe that police may find that other offences not found in this legislation may also be appropriate for on-the-spot fines. I will support the government’s bill, but I acknowledge, as I know the opposition has, the shortcomings of this bill before us. I believe we have an opportunity to introduce a far-reaching reform here and that the government seems to have shied away from this by restricting their bill to things like public urination and property damage.