Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 18 November 2010) . . Page.. 5715 ..
Indeed, the Chief Minister claimed in the debate on random roadside drug testing legislation that the Canberra Liberals were attempting to rush through this legislation in a blatant disregard for the human rights implications. It is ironic again, then, that, when we received the report of the scrutiny of bills committee on Monday, we discovered that the government had failed to address some key reporting areas required under the Human Rights Act.
It is ironic again, given that in the area where the government have claimed to fix the unworkable legislation, that they are now forced to provide an amendment today. I draw the attention of the Assembly to clause 42 of the bill. The scrutiny of bills committee report exposes that the government had denied people charged with drug driving offences the right to challenge the drug test analysis, a right they have not denied for alcohol driving offences.
I do not want to imply that this was an intention of the government to do so but inadvertently they did so. And this is reflected in the Chief Minister’s response to the committee where he states:
The government certainly did not intend to preclude the possibility of challenges to an analysis and will move amendments to address the committee’s concerns.
This is without doubt a technical amendment, an amendment required to make the legislation workable. I would not, as Mr Corbell did in the Canberra Times, argue that this makes Mr Stanhope’s legislation half baked. This is complex legislation and indeed occasionally, as we have seen in debating regulations this afternoon, as we saw in the amendments made to Mr Corbell’s liquor licensing legislation and as we are seeing in the amendments that must be made to the random breath testing legislation, these are amendments that occur on a regular basis and do not make legislation either half baked or unnecessarily unworkable.
I foreshadow that the Liberals will be supporting the amendments to be made to clause 131 of the bill. These amendments that the government is forced to make today are to fix a gap in the bill that would have meant that the police, in pulling over the holder of an interstate licence and finding that the person had a high-range alcohol reading, would have been unable to immediately suspend that person’s licence. They would have been unable to suspend the licence, even though ACT licence holders would have had their licences suspended.
I understand that this is a technical amendment and that this is an amendment required to make the legislation work. But given Mr Corbell’s low threshold for calling it half-baked legislation, I wonder whether he would be holding it to the same account as his colleague the Chief Minister’s similar amendments today.
The Canberra Liberals will today support the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 because we do not believe in playing politics with road safety. We have examined the bill carefully and we believe that there is sound policy within it, that the remedies and provisions provided will prove useful in countering drink driving and drug driving in the ACT.