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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1718 ..


Mr Hanson: Do you need to because you have run out of puff?

MR STANHOPE: No. If you were not listening, I am more than happy to start again. The point is this, as I say. The difficulty in setting a safe level of drug use, as Mr Hanson proposes, for drivers is acknowledged in the bill. There was some tweaking once Mr Hanson had pointed out to him by me the essential absurdities. He rushed off and produced a few amendments. Proposed new section 11(4) deems to address the concerns that I have raised.

So concerned was Mr Hanson that he went out and introduced amendments to his own bill, realising how flawed it was. He then determined that the prescribed concentration of cannabis—

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MR STANHOPE: Actually, after I embarrassed him in relation to this. What concentration of cannabis do you propose is safe? What concentration of methamphetamine? And there is the issue of the cultural change which we seek to address through legislation such as this. That is what it is all about. It is about mass testing to drive cultural change.

We have this confected approach about an “exceed prescribed concentration” approach to drug testing. Then, in the fine print, a late amendment seeks to clarify that any concentration is the prescribed concentration. As I say, how does that send the message in relation to driver change? And the use of the term “any” in prescribing a concentration is ambiguous. Is a zero concentration actually or rarely any concentration? Can you do it? Are you convinced that you can? How can any concentration be a zero concentration? If it is a zero concentration, it is no concentration. If so, everyone would be guilty of an offence, whether they used drugs or not. But the offence is said to be committed if a person has “a concentration of drugs in the person’s blood equal to or more than the prescribed concentration”. If the prescribed concentration is none, and we all had none, we would have a concentration equal to the prescribed concentration.

It really is a very flawed approach. This is what happens when you have got an essentially flawed piece of legislation. You belatedly seek to amend it to overcome the flaws and you simply create more ambiguities such as these. Is a zero concentration any concentration? If it is no concentration, and I have no concentration, do I have any concentration? I can see the fun that lawyers would have with it.

I look forward to debating this again. I regret that I was not able to have a brief available. I do apologise for that. I regret it. It would have been far easier for us all if we had the two proposals to debate side by side. I am happy for this matter to proceed in June and look forward to debating it cognately then.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (10.38): The ACT Greens will be supporting this bill in principle, and I will be moving to adjourn this bill at the commencement of the detail stage. It is the ACT Greens party policy to support legislation that makes driving


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