Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2853 ..

should reflect the current state of the technology, which is currently only able to detect presence and non-presence of an active quantity of a substance in an oral fluid. We believe that this is simpler to implement and removes any element of confusion about measuring prescribed levels of substances where no technology exists.

The other is removal of the drug impaired assessment test. In making an assessment of the effectiveness of this legislation we consulted with a range of relevant groups, a number of whom relayed legitimate concerns about the subjective nature of drug impairment tests. The ACT Greens believe that it is unreasonable for an individual who has already been subject to screening tests for either alcohol or drugs to then be compelled to undergo a video-taped impairment test. We do not believe that it is appropriate or effective for police to administer this type of test in an effort to continue to detain people who have already demonstrated that they do not have an active presence of a prescribed substance in their oral fluid. To this end I will later move a series of amendments that remove the provisions for drug impairment assessment tests in the legislation.

The other point is broadening the definition to allow for future inclusion of other drugs for regulation. To emphasise that this legislation is truly a road safety measure and not another drug enforcement strategy, the legislation needs to make it clear that this is about substances that impair driving, not simply illicit drugs. While we recognise that current roadside testing technology is only sufficient to pick up the drugs specified in the legislation—that is, THC, MDMA and methamphetamines—we need to make a provision for detecting legal over-the-counter or prescription medication when the technology allows.

The amendments which I will move later remove specific reference to the word “illicit” and allow for the minister responsible to prescribe additional substances by regulation. The ACT Greens would encourage the minister responsible to include additional substances that impair driving, legal or otherwise, once the technology to detect them becomes available.

My final point is in relation to civil liberties restrictions on the use of evidence and search powers. Our first principle is that drug driving should be criminalised only as a traffic offence. The ACT Greens believe that deterring the act of driving under the influence should be the sole goal of this legislation. We commend Mr Hanson on the manner in which this bill treats driving under the influence of drugs as a traffic offence.

A principle that the ACT Greens submitted was that a random drug test should not be used as a sole basis for justifying the search of a person or conveyance. We believe that the usage of oral fluid analysis in the context of random roadside tests should not be the sole basis of an invasive search. We believe that this unnecessarily conflates road safety with drug policy and sends a conflicting measure to the community about why this measure is being implemented. The message must be clear and simple: driving under the influence of prescribed substances is dangerous.

The amendment I will move later clarifies that an officer cannot form a suspicion based solely on the results of a random roadside test. I should emphasise, in light of the comments by the Chief Minister, that this does not preclude a police officer

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video