ALSWA Submission to the West Australian Parliament – November 2010

ALSWA provided this submission to members of the Western Australian Parliament to contribute to the debate around the Road Traffic Legislation Amendment (Disqualification by Notice) Bill 2010 (‘the Bill’). In this submission ALSWA voiced concerns about:
  1. the detrimental and disproportionate impact that disqualification notices that are issued by police are likely to have on Aboriginal peoples;
  2. the likelihood of unnecessary increases in arrests, particularly of Aboriginal peoples, as a result of sections 6 and 10 of the Bill which authorised police to arrest persons who commit an offence of driving with a blood alcohol reading equal to or above 0.08 grams of alcohol per 100 grams of blood or failing to provide breath, blood or urine samples when required; and
  3. the imposition of more onerous requirements that all applicants must satisfy in order to be granted an extraordinary licence under section 76 of the Road Traffic Act 1974 (WA) (‘the Act’).

ALSWA noted that police power to issue a disqualification notice blurs the separation of powers between the executive arm of government and the judicature as it enables police to determine the guilt of an individual and immediately punish them. ALSWA was also concerned that if police, rather than courts, issue disqualification notices, persons may not properly understand the implications of a disqualification notice and may be more likely to breach the disqualification.

ALSWA sought for the Bill to be amended to remove provisions enabling police to issue disqualification notices or alternatively, include additional sections to require police, using interpreters where required, to ensure that persons understand the content and implication of disqualification notices.

ALSWA further sought the removal of those sections of the Bill that increased police powers to arrest without warrant. ALSWA was concerned that the expansion of police powers to arrest would result in more people being in custody and remaining in custody following a refusal of bail.

Finally, ALSWA sought for the Bill to include an amendment to the Act to introduce a requirement to satisfy cultural obligations as a circumstance of extreme hardship warranting the granting of an extraordinary driver’s licence application.

Despite ALSWA’s submission and recommendations, the Bill was passed by both houses of Parliament and was assented to 8 December 2010

Disqualification by Notice – Nov 2010 – WA.pdf (170.75Kb)