Page 544 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 10 February 2009

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The new duty to ensure clean event promotion is problematic and ill conceived. The clean duty provision is so broad that it applies to parts of a business or undertaking. This includes both small and large businesses, charitable purposes, theatre, live music, and other community organisations. Many of these organisations attract many of their customers, supporters and patrons through the distribution of posters. This new duty has the effect of shifting liability from someone who has posted in breach of new section 120 to an event organiser. Without the ability to advertise with posters, charities and organisations who cannot afford other paid advertising are severely limited in their reach.

I am also concerned that these laws may have some consequences for freedom of speech. Many political events such as rallies and lectures are advertised through the distribution of flyers and posters. Severely restricting this form of posting limits the ability of these organisations to have successful events and participate in public debate.

It is unclear how the proposed legislation would apply to campuses of the ANU, UC, ACU and CIT. Student groups and political groups on campus use bill posting to advertise their events and organisations because of the limited financial capacity they have. This matter should be clarified before this legislation is passed.

Whilst considering this bill, it has become clear to me and others in this place that this is another example of the Stanhope-Gallagher government’s decision not to consult but simply to say later on they consulted. Instead of talking with those businesses with an interest in bill posting, the Chief Minister has rushed forward with his vague legislation. The government has yet to point to the consultation or community concern that has led to the drafting of this legislation.

I will move that this bill be referred to the Planning, Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services Committee for inquiry and report back to the Assembly. The opposition believes this legislation should go to a committee because we recognise that there is a problem with some bill posting that is ugly and unsightly, and indeed with graffiti, and that it is a concern that should be addressed by the government.

I envisage that the committee might take the opportunity to hear from concerned businesses and other organisations about better ways to control and accommodate bill posting without having the harsh consequences of the legislation as it is currently drafted. Therefore, I move:

That the Crimes (Bill Posting) Amendment Bill 2008 be referred to the Standing Committee on Planning, Public Works and Territory and Municipal Services for inquiry and report.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (5.47): I have a procedural question. I wish to continue with the in-principle debate.

MR SPEAKER: It is not possible. We are now on the motion moved by Mr Coe that the bill be referred to a committee. You can speak to that if you wish or we can move on. Would you like the floor?

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