Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3953 ..
MR QUINLAN (10.44): Mr Speaker, I present the Liquor Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR QUINLAN: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
This Bill ensures that the results of breath analysis equipment installed in licensed premises are not admissible in court. This legislation makes sure that the results from these machines cannot be admissible in civil or criminal proceedings. It mirrors legislation currently in place in New South Wales and I assume that there will be sufficient support on that basis when it is brought back for debate. If passed, licensees with breath analysis machines installed in licensed premises cannot be held liable in any civil proceedings resulting from a patron being pulled over and failing a random breath test administered by police, despite registering under the limit on the licensed premises. However, if it is established that at the time of the test the breath analysis machine did not comply with Australian standards, the licensee was aware or should have been aware that the instrument was not operating correctly, or the licensee contravened the labelling laws, the result of the breath test may be admissible in civil proceedings.
Significantly, the Bill also includes labelling laws which make sure that every breath analysis machine clearly displays information regarding the inadmissibility of readings and the fact that a patron's blood alcohol level can rise for one hour or more after the last drink. Breath analysis machines are a good guide for patrons in ensuring that they do not drive while over the limit and this Bill ensures that licensed premises can install and operate these machines properly without fear of prosecution if a patron is charged with drink-driving.
I do not believe that the Bill will result in a large number of orders being placed with the manufacturers of this equipment, but I do believe that licensed premises should not be discouraged or dissuaded from installing this equipment because they fear prosecution. This Bill is not about encouraging or allowing patrons to drink to the limit and then drive. The message regarding alcohol and driving is that they do not mix and that, if you are going to drive, you should not drink. We must, however, be realistic and appreciate that some patrons will drink their one or two beers or wines and they should be able to check their blood alcohol level and make sure that they do not drive while they are over the limit.
I might add, Mr Speaker, that I believe that this is good law, as opposed to bad law passed in this place recently. It is positive, not punitive. It is designed to be fair to all, to the provider of the device as well as the user of the device. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries ) adjourned.