Consideration in Detail

Mr D O’BRIEN: I assume I have to be in my place and I also need to refer to you as Chair on this occasion.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I have been called worse.

Mr D O’BRIEN: Or Deputy Speaker? Sorry, this is new for us. This is literally I think the third time—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Deputy Speaker.

Mr D O’BRIEN: Deputy Speaker, this is literally the third time this has happened since I have been in Parliament—for nearly seven years now—so it is a little bit exciting for us.

Mr Eren: You’re easily excited.

Mr D O’BRIEN: True. A very bad choice of words, member for Lara.

Members interjecting.

Mr D O’BRIEN: Sorry, Minister, I just want to go back to those couple of questions. You have used the word ‘intention’ a couple of times. I would like to know whether it is still legally possible for someone to be charged when using a mobile to pay for something. It is not just the question perhaps of fast-food outlets. For example, we see people collecting money at traffic lights, and I am sure it is not beyond the realms that in future—in fact it might already be happening—that people do that with a machine, a payWave.

I take your assurance that it is not the intention of the legislation. But as you know, as local members we all get the strange cases that come forward where someone is aggrieved that they have been charged with an offence and do not believe it is clear in the act. I just seek whether you can clarify (a) whether or not someone could in fact be charged for using a mobile phone or a device to pay out the window, whether at a fast-food outlet or perhaps at traffic lights, and (b) whether it is absolutely clear in the legislation that you cannot be touching a mobile phone even when stationary on the road.

Mr D O’BRIEN: To assist the house, I have a related question that you may seek clarification on too, Minister, and I would like to just respond to some of your comments earlier too. I do not think we are in any way trying to create loopholes; we are simply just trying to have clarity on some of these issues. But in addition to the member for Ferntree Gully’s questions, I am interested in—and this would relate to the current rules as well—devices such as AirPods. So you could be on the phone with AirPods in your ears. Likewise, there are in development—and they have been trialled—smart glasses, which potentially could be used. I get that that is not a case of having a mobile phone in your hand or on your lap, but it is potentially equally distracting. I am just wanting to clarify whether that is okay—say, for example, with AirPods—as it is okay, I assume, under current laws to use bluetooth in the car. Could you clarify that for me as well?

Mr D O’BRIEN: Could I just clarify on that, then: so the cameras will not be focused at all on the passenger in the front—is that correct? Only on the driver?

Mr D O’BRIEN: Just a clarification on the same section, although onto clause 9(3), which indicates that a senior police officer can effectively only suspend a licence in the case of someone who has died or suffered serious injury or, paragraph (a)(ii):

the accused is an unacceptable risk to road safety until the charge is determined …

Minister, could you clarify what the definition of a senior police officer is and also if there is any appeal mechanism for that? There is a situation potentially where there may be multiple people or vehicles involved in an accident. Someone might be suspended and vehemently protest their innocence, and the charge may take some time to clarify—as to whether there is actually any appeal mechanism for that.

Mr D O’BRIEN: Perhaps further clarification: what are the appeal processes? Is it through VCAT, is it through a magistrate? What is the process that someone who is suspended might appeal?

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