Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2881 ..
think the government will stand condemned for not engaging in this process. They have refused to even sit down and discuss this legislation since it was tabled over six months ago. If there are any technical issues that need to be worked out, and I am sure there will be, the government will stand condemned.
I would just like to make the point, in terms of the two substantive issues that have been raised in recent hours by the Chief Police Officer and the human rights commissioner, that I am confident those issues have been addressed. I will quote again from the AFPA’s comments:
“The AFPA applauds the measures introduced in this Bill, those measures will aid our members in exercising their duties to the community as professional police officers. This Bill will save lives by getting drug affected drivers off the streets of Canberra.
“I am also confident that with the amendments, this Bill will also address the issues raised recently in media by the ACT Chief Police Officer which were based on an earlier version of the Bill.”
In relation to human rights, I think the issues have been addressed. I recognise that Amanda Bresnan went through them in some detail and I think that the bill, as amended, does address the concerns as far as they can be addressed. The point is that there will always be people in the community, including the human rights commissioner, who have philosophical objections to random roadside drug testing, and there is nothing we can do about that.
The point that is in the government’s own discussion paper is about proportionality. Is the measure that we are introducing here today an important and significant objective? That is the first test. And there is no question that it is. And the second is: is it proportional; is it reasonable? And the answer to that question is yes, it is. So I think the two concerns that have been thrown at this legislation at the 11th hour by the Chief Minister have been substantially addressed.
We are finally there. This has been a long and difficult process for the community. They are perplexed, I think, by the way this has been conducted in this Assembly. It has brought no credit to us as parliamentarians and I lay the blame for that fairly and squarely on the government. Their refusal to engage has not only made this a more difficult process than it needed to be; the way they conducted themselves has actually brought discredit on the Assembly. But it has been worth it. There is no doubt in my mind and in my heart that it has been worth it.
We are at the right point today. It is the time to look forward. It is time to put the debacle of the government’s resistance to this legislation for five years behind us and to look forward, and to look forward to what this means in the community. That is that it will remove from our community people who are driving under the effects of drugs, and that has been the objective.
It is now with the government to decide what they are going to do with this legislation. They have been given the authority, they have been given the power, in this Assembly to now roll out a regime of random roadside drug testing. It is quite clear that the will of this Assembly is for them to do so and, although the position changes, I suspect the