Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 27 August 2009) . . Page.. 3821 ..
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Women): Mr Speaker, I understand that the Chief Minister has been slightly delayed, so I am happy to take questions on his behalf in the interim.
MR SPEAKER: Red lights on the way back from the Belconnen Arts Centre?
MS GALLAGHER: Perhaps.
Questions without notice
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Attorney-General. Attorney, earlier this year Magistrate Lalor wrote to you in a personal capacity asking you to consider a proposal to introduce a regime under the infringement notices which would be issued for traffic offences relating to prescribed concentrations of alcohol or drugs. Mr Lalor did me the courtesy of providing me with a copy of that letter. Mr Lalor suggested this would free up considerable amounts of time in the courts, particularly when most matters brought before the courts resulted in guilty pleas by the offenders. Mr Lalor also offered you an example of the system that operates in Victoria under the Road Safety Act 1986 in that state. Attorney, what action have you taken in response to Mr Lalor’s proposal?
MR CORBELL: I thank Mrs Dunne for the question. Yes, I have received those representations from Magistrate Lalor, and there is significant interest on my part and the government’s part in implementing those reforms. The matter is actually a matter for the Minister for Transport, given that the relevant legislation primarily rests in the transport portfolio. The Department of Territory and Municipal Services has been leading the government’s consideration of that matter, so I refer you to Mr Stanhope as the relevant minister.
MR SPEAKER: I think you have had it flicked to you, Chief Minister.
MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. May I at the outset apologise for my late arrival. I do apologise to members of the Assembly for that. Similarly, I have taken note of all the issues that have been raised in correspondence to the government by, indeed, not just Mr Lawler but by other magistrates, and commentary that has been made in relation to how perhaps to better streamline operations within the court.
That, of course, goes to the issues that Mr Corbell has just touched on but certainly to the treatment of drink-drive offences essentially and issues in relation to how we might make systems more efficient without detracting from some of the other aspects of penalty in relation to drink driving. I refer to the fact that it is an activity that we wish to certainly outlaw and an activity that we certainly wish to see addressed and the capacity we have through arrangements within the courts for the handling of drink-driving offences that have those multiple effects. It sends a signal to the community. It protects the community and ultimately changes behaviour.