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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 15 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 December 2005) . . Page.. 4791 ..


being put out, as they clearly underscore the failures of his government to protect the community, but I do stress that these are in fact issues which are in the public domain.

In another case, in June 2003, a pillion passenger on a motorbike in Theodore died after the rider had drunk alcohol and smoked cannabis and lost control of the bike. That represents two lives that might—I stress “might”—have been saved if they had been randomly drug tested at some stage in their life or had been deterred from drug-driving because they knew there was a chance that they could be tested, as is the case for drink-driving.

Evidence strongly suggests that many people socialise now using drugs rather than alcohol. As regrettable as that is and as disappointing as that is to those of us who have grown up perhaps in different circumstances, it would appear to be a fact that too many people now socialise and use recreational drugs. They do this because they believe that they will be less likely to be picked up for drug-driving than drink-driving as there is no random testing regime to act as a deterrent to this illegal behaviour. So the culture is there.

Young people who tend to take risks—and most young people think they are bullet proof—know that they stand a chance of being picked up through random breath testing. This is another redneck instrument, by the way, that we have—one of these terribly draconian measures. The Chief Minister wrestles with it at night and cannot sleep, but clearly, if random breath testing is working, then why would not random drug testing work as well? And why would that be any more supposedly draconian?

Mr Stanhope: This is really sloppy.

MR PRATT: The only thing sloppy around here, minister, is your management of your portfolio. The New South Wales Bureau of Crime statistics and research and the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre survey found that people said they would be less likely to drive under the influence if they ran the risk of random drug testing. A study of cannabis users in Sydney and Newcastle found that 78 per cent had driven within an hour of smoking drugs and that 27 per cent admitted to driving under the influence of cannabis at least once a week.

Therefore, I am proposing that random drug testing be introduced into the ACT as the ACT is certainly not immune from this problem. The anecdotal and the factual information that we glean from across the Australian landscape would indicate trends that exist in the ACT. Not only would it be a sensible and responsible initiative to introduce a random drug-testing regime, making ACT roads safer, but random roadside drug testing would have a significant general impact on the growing trend of drug taking amongst our young people anyway. By simply having RDT, that is, random drug testing, in place, we would see exactly the same influence, I put to you, that random breath testing has had in this country over the last 25 years.

Random breath testing across the nation has certainly affected the way people behave. It has made people think twice about the amount of drinking that they undertake. Why would not a regime in place, well established, which indicates drug testing is in place to catch those who behave recklessly, affect the culture of our young people?


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