9/20/2005Australia: Parliament to Lower Speed Limit Retroactively
A pending court challenge is forcing the South Australian parliament to consider lowering speed limits retroactively.
After a court challenge has put into doubt the legality of a March 2003 lowering of the default speed limit in built-up areas to 50 km/h (31 MPH), the South Australian parliament is moving on legislation that states retroactively that the speed limit was properly lowered in 2003. Lawmakers fear a successful challenge could result in the refund of A$13.6 million in fines and the removal of points from the driving licenses of 90,000 motorists.
Legislative Council Member Andrew Evans explained in parliament yesterday that the government introduced the amendment "retrospectively rectifying the uncertainty of the law to the government's advantage" as a direct response to the pending court challenge by businessman Gary Williams. Williams argues that having an unposted default speed limit for "built-up areas" is unfair to motorists, and he'll take his case to the highest court if necessary to prove his point.
South Australian ministers believe they have the votes to pass the retroactive measure.