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Loony Wetsuit Law Sparks Warning

Loony Wetsuit Law Sparks Warning

Tuesday 27 Nov 2001 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Governance & Constitution

Government plans to give Local Authorities "powers of general competence" are loopy, but the wetsuit law shows how ominous they could become under a law change planned by Sandra Lee, ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Law must mean what it says. It should be enforced. If it is not to be enforced it should be repealed. Telling us not to worry about the wetsuit law because officials will not enforce it just highlights how little understanding there is of the essential elements of the rule of law.

"Sandra Lee should be asking Local Authorities to repeal this nonsense. Respect for the law is destroyed when laws are foolish and enforced only at whim. This wetsuit law is likely to be used when the enforcers want to pick on people who might otherwise have committed no offence.

"The power of general competence will allow Local Authorities to make rules about anything they like. The current constitutional position evolved over hundreds of years to protect liberties. It means governing bodies can do only things they are expressly authorised to do.

"The power of general competence will mean Local Authorities can do anything they like unless it is expressly prohibited. Can we assume that Local Authorities consulted Sandra Lee over the wetsuit law, and she supports it?"

Mr Franks has written to Sandra Lee asking what role she or her office have played in this debacle.

For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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