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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Hansard Week 4 (9 April) . . Page.. 1165..


MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):

framework that will enact a social change within our community needed to combat climate change. Mr Speaker, I urge all members to support this bill.

Debate (on motion by Dr Foskey ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) (Random Drug Testing) Amendment Bill 2008

Mr Pratt, pursuant to notice, presented the bill.

Title read by Clerk.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (10.39): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I stand here today to again table legislation that I have introduced on a number of occasions. Certainly, it was tabled in 2005 for debate in 2006. The legislation that I am again tabling today has been somewhat updated because the opposition and I believe that this legislation is badly needed in the ACT.

The Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) (Random Drug Testing) Amendment Bill 2008 allows for random drug testing—RDT—to be conducted alongside or independent of random breath testing. In December 2005, as I said earlier, I tabled such a bill, but it was rejected by the government for no apparent good reason. The bill was rejected by the government and the Greens at that time for a number of stated reasons, including, allegedly, scepticism about the efficacy of the instruments used for testing, despite a number of pilot studies that had been conducted indicating that the testing process was reliable, accurate and non-invasive.

I can also recall the disdain with which this bill was met by the Chief Minister and minister at the time. I remember, for example, the Chief Minister in particular interjecting—and the Hansard reflects his comments—that, in his opinion, this was, indeed, a red-neck bill. Do not mind that seven other jurisdictions in this country, all headed by Labor administrations, have tabled, debated and implemented exactly the same sort of bill. So it looks like this country is run by a bunch of red-neck Labor administrations. In fact, this bill is being introduced, in the opposition's opinion, in response to a growing trend and in the interests of community safety.

Yesterday's jumping of the gun by the minister was churlish, to say the least. It was clearly only an attempt by the minister to cover up his and the government's inaction on this fundamentally important issue. It was also an act of comedy; there is no question about that. The way that the minister yesterday changed the order of business for the day to try and deviate from what is really an important exercise here today was somewhat laughable, ineffective and unfortunate. All it did was to waste precious time in this place yesterday when there were other very important matters of business to be discussed. The fact that it also compromised other protocols in this place is a matter that can be discussed at another time.


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