Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 April 2008) . . Page.. 1119 ..
Roadside drug testing—Ministerial statement, 8 April 2008.
That the Assembly takes note of the paper.
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (4.03): I am pleased to see the minister has at least tabled this statement. I want to talk to that issue. Firstly, I would like to make the point that we did think, of course, that, according to the draft business paper, there was to be the tabling of a statement about the Gungahlin Drive extension, which is why we were quite pleased to agree to provide leave. So we really have been misled on this matter. I will let my colleague Mrs Burke speak more about that.
I turn now to the substance of the matter tabled. I would like to raise a couple of issues. Firstly, it is peculiar that this statement has been made today in knee-jerk anticipation of the opposition’s tabling of new legislation tomorrow. I make the point for the record that this is a very, very interesting turn of events that the government should jump in some panic. Perhaps it demonstrates that the government are all at sea on providing sensible law and sensible protections and have found themselves wanting here today in anticipation of the opposition’s intentions in this place tomorrow.
A couple of points were made by the minister. First, the minister talked about a couple of dilemmas that he seems to have when it comes to the subject of introducing legislation on random roadside drug testing. Those two points were: (a) the invasion of human rights and (b) the issues of harm minimisation.
There are a couple of points that I would like to make right now. Firstly, on harm minimisation: does avoiding random detection of drug driving in the interests of a harm minimisation program do anything to minimise the harm that can come to other innocent drivers or pedestrians, for that matter, who are impacted by drug-affected drivers?
If there are concerns about an invasion of human rights or harm minimisation being compromised by such a policy, what the hell is RBT, random breath testing? Is random breath testing, in your definition, minister, therefore not also an invasion of those two particular principles? Surely the biggest invasion of human rights is when a fool on cannabis and methamphetamines, in a V8, flies through a red light, ploughs into your car and kills a child in the backseat. How is that for damn human rights?
Let the record show that the minister has a dilemma in reconciling himself with these conflicting principles. The government in general, by the way, has too. I would have thought the minister had a better approach. I have heard the minister talk about this in the past. Perhaps he is being restrained by his human rights-driven colleagues, this human rights-driven government.
The best thing that this minister could do in the salvaging and the protection of human rights is ensure that he and his government address a growing problem in our