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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 478..


Leave not granted.

MR SPEAKER: The question now is:

That Mr Smyth's amendment be agreed to.

The Assembly voted-

Ayes 7

Noes 8

Mrs Burke

Mr Pratt

Mr Berry

Ms MacDonald

Mrs Dunne

Mr Smyth

Mr Corbell

Ms Porter

Dr Foskey

Mr Stefaniak

Mr Gentleman

Mr Quinlan

Mr Mulcahy

Mr Hargreaves

Mr Stanhope

Question so resolved in the negative.

Motion agreed to.

Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) (Random Drug Testing) Amendment Bill 2005

Debate resumed.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4:10): As I indicated before the luncheon adjournment, I find curious the way in which the Chief Minister was quick to condemn Mr Pratt for bringing in a very sensible bill that proposed legislation to save the lives of Canberrans. I was disappointed, although I fully expected the Greens to look for ways to avoid support of this measure. That has consistently been their case on measures that involve illicit drugs. There seems to be a pronounced reluctance to support legislation that might, albeit not the primary purpose of this bill, have the unintended consequence of taking action in relation to people who choose to use illicit substances.

I spoke of the percentage of fatalities on the roads of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia involving an illegal amount of alcohol having fallen from 33 per cent in the period 1990 to 1993 to 26.7 per cent from 1997 to 1999. Yet, during the same period, the number of fatalities involving illicit drugs has risen. Clearly the number of alcohol-related fatalities is still too high, but this helps to demonstrate the success of the random breath testing system on Australia's roads. A key component of the success of RBT is the principle of general deterrence. The high perceived risk of detection acts as a deterrent to the general public when it comes to drinking.

The general public need to be made aware of the dangers posed by drugs. They need to know that, by driving whilst under the influence of drugs like marijuana and ecstasy, not only are they placing their own lives at risk but also the lives of others on the roads. That is what this legislation we are proposing is all about. It is a road safety initiative and should be interpreted as nothing else. Illicit drugs can affect driving ability. For example, laboratory studies have shown that cannabis compromises reaction time, affects an


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