Page 4790 - Week 15 - Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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people agreed that there should be random drug testing of drivers. While this government has got its head firmly inserted in the sand, it is clearly in a minority position. Ninety per cent of Australian people agree, as per the AAMI annual crash index assessment, that there should be random drug testing of drivers. The community fully understands what this problem is. You do not; the community does. It would certainly make sense for the government to support the introduction of this legislation in the ACT.

With 10 per cent of ACT motorists under the impression that it is okay to use recreational drugs and drive, the government should not waste any more time in delaying random roadside drug testing. That is more than ample reason to support the introduction of this legislation in the ACT. We know that currently, under the territory’s Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977, it is an offence to drive under the influence of a substance specified in the act or related regulations or under any other substance that may affect a person’s driving. So much for Mr Stanhope’s statement about so-called redneck legislation!

We already have legislation in place which makes it an offence for a person to drive while drug affected. How well are you in touch with your instruments of power, Chief Minister? However, unless there is reason to believe that someone is driving under the influence of drugs, there can be no random testing; there is nothing to allow the setting up of random roadside drug-testing units to be used alongside or independent of random breath-testing units for alcohol. This bill allows for such random drug testing to occur.

A number of accident investigations in the ACT have clearly shown that drivers have often been affected by drugs at the time of their accident. In one case a male driver who died in a head-on collision in July this year on Long Gully Road was shown to have four times the lethal dose of ecstasy in his system. Does that pull you up, minister? I do not think it does, does it?

Mr Stanhope: On a point of order: I am concerned that the member is discussing matters that I am not aware of. I do not know whether or not there is any legal action in relation to the matter that the member raises.

Mr Stefaniak: It is in the newspaper.

Mr Smyth: It is in the newspaper. He is reading from a newspaper article.

Mr Stanhope: That is not definitive of the issue I raise, which is that the member is discussing a car accident that occurred in July of this year. I am concerned that there may be outstanding legal matters in relation to that action. I urge some caution and a ruling on the raising in this place of matters on which there is quite possibly outstanding legal action.

MR SPEAKER: I do not know of any legal action pending. In any event, some caution about these matters should be exercised. If there is some legal action pending or coronial inquests pending, then one ought exercise caution about going to the issues.

MR PRATT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. On the point of order: may I stress that the information that I have quoted from here is already information in the public domain. It has been in the papers. I know the Chief Minister would like to try to gag these examples

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