Parliamentary record : Part I debates (22 August 1985)
Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 22 August 1985 relating to the equipment have been finalised and all the required commitments have been firmed up. However, it has been assessed that the possible cost could be about $2 per licence. Under those circumstances, whatever occurs will be on the user-pays principle. I would also like to remind honourable members that there has been no rise in the cost of a driver's licence since 1978 so that, even if the additional cost is as high as $2, that will still be a very modest amount to pay for the potential benefits that honourable members have described. The honourable members for Braitling and Stuart mentioned possible problems that might be involved for people in outback communities who are a long way from centres of administration. I do not think a problem will arise because it is intended that suitable equipment to process these photographic licences will be installed in police stations. Also, it should be remembered that, in order to obtain a licence, a person has to go to an administrative centre for that purpose in the first place. Anyone who is contemplating obtaining a licence will be able to have the necessary photograph taken at the place where he or she would apply normally. If circumstances arise which make that impossible, the registrar will still have power to issue a licence where a photograph is not available. That would be done on the basis that, when the photograph became available, the licence could then be issued with a photograph. The member for Stuart mentioned some of the dangers of using licences for identity purposes. That was a valid point. He spoke about a situation that occurred in London and it is probably relevant to recall a problem that occurred in Australia some years ago. A new system was introduced in the federal parliament requiring identity cards. On a particular occasion, a young female journalist designed her own identity card, painted it herself and placed it in a plastic card. This identity card had the photograph of an Alsatian dog on it and I believe that that particular journalist roamed through the precincts of the federal parliament for 3 weeks and on no occasion was challenged. I think that all members and, indeed, the community at large should be aware that the mere fact that a photographic licence is available does not provide a sure means of establishing identity. The whole idea of the licence is that it is issued to people to certify that they are qualified to drive a motor vehicle and that they are fully conversant with the traffic laws in the Northern Territory. There are certain legislative requirements in relation to the use of motor vehicles which require people to have a licence. The addition of a photograph on the licence will ensure that the holder of the licence is in fact the person who produces it when requested to do so by a member of the police force. I have had personal experience of some of the problems that can be involved in relation to the identity of drivers. I know of circumstances that have occurred where, through a series of incidents regarding the misuse of a licence by a particular person, another person has been wrongfully imprisoned. The whole series of events commenced with the production of a licence that was lent to somebody for the purpose of trying to conceal the fact that he was driving without a licence. Obviously, nobody wants that sort of circumstance to occur. I do not think any other problems were raised regarding this particular bill. I feel that it will be of great benefit to the police and the community at large. The member for Stuart mentioned difficulties experienced by people in outback areas in identifying themselves in relation to the cashing of cheques. I think that, as a consequence of this legislation, many problems 1211
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