Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 April 2008) . . Page.. 1120 ..
community, one that every jurisdiction in this country shares. It is clear from a range of studies and surveys across every jurisdiction in this country that drug-affected driving is on the increase.
I will have a lot more to say about this tomorrow to justify why I will be tabling legislation in this place to address this issue, why there is an urgency for that legislation to be tabled and why there is an urgency for that legislation to be implemented. I will have a lot more to say tomorrow about that.
Today all we have heard is that the government’s working group, its study into the concept of random drug testing, has been underway for something like two years now—almost two years. I think, minister, if you go back and check the record, you were talking about this two years ago. Perhaps you were talking about it two years ago and perhaps it only became a fact a year ago. But the government has done nothing but talk about the need to study. And there was a working group put in place.
Now we are going to have a discussion paper on the subject and we hear today from the minister that the discussion paper will be issued in early May. How long will the discussion process go beyond May 2008 before there is any decision taken in this place? Why cannot the government, on the basis of the evidence available in every other jurisdiction and on the evidence coming out of the University of Canberra’s own study into drug-affected driving—and we saw the results of that study spoken to some two weeks ago—have the guts to make a sensible decision?
Where is the leadership of this government in protecting its community against the sorts of threats which are becoming more commonplace in this territory? Get on with it, government. Make a damn decision.
We will take action here tomorrow. In this vacuum we will take action tomorrow. We will table legislation in this place. We will argue an ironclad case for the immediate introduction of random roadside drug testing. We will show the government how to take the action. We will lead the way while they flap around with yet another discussion paper and another talkfest and wring their hands over harm minimisation and wring their hands over the dilemma they have about human rights.
I finish on this note: what about the human rights of the vast majority, about 93 per cent, in fact, of Canberra drivers who do not drive drug affected but who are at risk of collision with those who do?
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.10): I welcome the statement by my colleague Mr Hargreaves today. I think it needs to be put on the record, first and foremost, that the whole basis of Mr Pratt’s argument is false because his suggestion is that the government is not going to do anything on this issue when, if he had listened to what Mr Hargreaves was saying, he would have heard that Mr Hargreaves has said the government will legislate on this matter. What part of that do you not understand?
The government will legislate on this matter. But what Mr Hargreaves has said very clearly is that the government will not legislate until the community itself has had