Thursday 30 April 2015
Hansard of the Legislative Council
PENALTY UNITS AND OTHER PENALTIES AMENDMENT BILL 2015 (No. 20)
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - I am doing what your Dad did, the previous member for Apsley, when I sat next to him. I would say, 'Are you going to speak on this?' He would say, 'No, I do not think I will bother.' Then he would get up and wax lyrical and we would do a tour of his electorate and it would be a wonderful contribution.
Mr President, we were chatting a moment ago and the member for Apsley asked if I was going to make a contribution, and I said no, it is a no‑brainer. When she stood up I thought, I will do a member for Apsley and make a small contribution and take her on a tour of my electorate.
Some of the points of interest for me were brought out in our briefings this morning. I appreciate the briefings, they are very helpful. We mentioned in the second reading speech, that there are some things that might be checked on and eliminated from what we have in our laws, as they make us look ridiculous. The example given was flying the Girl Guides flag without authorisation. How silly and ridiculous is that? The other example was failing to report the death of a pet under the Dog Control Act. That is desperation for money, to impose fines like that. We need to eliminate that sort of stuff that makes us look silly.
The minister in his second reading speech said criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in Tasmania and this bill is the latest in a series of initiatives introduced by the Government to get tough on crime and that this bill is sending a message to criminals. All that is over the top. Not every person who commits a breach of an act or regulation is a criminal.
Mr Valentine - If this is to be taken any notice of, it does refer to court fines as well. Presumably there may well be some criminals.
Mr FINCH - No doubt, but that is not the main thrust. The provisions of this bill are not solely directed at criminals or criminal behaviour. A statutory offence is not necessarily a crime. Parking a car in a no-parking space is not a crime. Nor is failing to give way to the right. I know in the amendments it has already been discussed by members. The amendments proposed in this bill will weigh heavily on those who have little financial capital or income. We need to be considerate, and members have been. The point is, if you do not want to pay this money, if you are struggling and if you have a situation where finances are tight, keep your nose clean. You might inadvertently do something - well, that is your mistake. That is your bad luck. You have to cop it sweet. Play by the rules if you are struggling, and do not want to pay these sort of fines.
In closing, the fact sheet shows that the real reason for this bill is not to curb criminal behaviour. It is to increase government revenues.
I support the bill.