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Auditor General Strays Outside His Role

Thursday 2 May 2002

ACT Transport Spokesman Penny Webster says it is shocking that the Auditor General thinks it is part of his role to tell the Police to issue speeding fines to motorists.

"The Auditor General has strayed way outside his constitutional role. His statements show that he regards speed fines as tax revenue.

"Many factors other than speed contribute to the road toll. Regrettably speed fines are little more than a revenue gathering device.

"The Auditor General's suggestions that motorists should be fined even when the police have legitimate doubts about whether the vehicle was speeding - for example when there is more than one vehicle in the picture, lack of clarity, or the camera was obstructed - is absolutely outrageous.

"Under our Westminster constitution no Government Minister or Government official, including the Auditor General, can issue the police with an instruction to charge any citizen.

"The Police have what is known as constabulary independence and must make up their own minds whether they are grounds for a charge being laid.

"Instructions being issued on how to use speed cameras remove the discretion of the police.

"If the police follow the Auditor General's advice it is clear that motorists who are not speeding will be hit by very substantial fines.

"Such injustices undermine the whole legal system," Penny Webster said.


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