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Chiefly broadsides in the drug driving battle

By johnboy 30 June 2010 27

With the police arguing amongst themselves on drug driving our Chief Minister has gone rapid fire with his thoughts.

Late yesterday saw the first media release saying Liberals and Greens can’t handle the truth.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said it was remarkable that both the Liberals and Greens had today criticised the Government for releasing the advice from the Chief Police Officer, which sets out numerous failings with the proposed law.

“First, the Liberals and Greens failed to consult properly or thoroughly on the contents of their fatally flawed law. Then, when the police pointed out the deep and unresolvable failings with the Bill, they have the gall to criticise the Government for making that advice public,” Mr Stanhope said today.

“They have actually suggested that it would have been better for the Government to remain silent, to allow the considered advice of the most senior police officer in the territory to sit on a file in a cupboard somewhere, to just let this unworkable and flawed Bill to become law.

“Oddly enough, the Government doesn’t believe it was elected by Canberrans to allow bad law to be enacted, when it has advice in its possession that clearly states that it is bad law.

“What kind of Government would do such a thing?”

(One really can tell when he’s writing them himself eh?)

Then this morning we had the Human Rights Commissioner’s advice released to Chiefly acclaim:

The Liberal-Greens drug-driving Bill would probably fail a Supreme Court challenge and was in breach of the ACT Human Rights Act, according to the ACT Human Rights Commissioner.

In advice handed to the Government the Commissioner, Dr Helen Watchirs, said she had a number of reservations about the human-rights compatibility of the Bill, which is likely to be passed today by the Liberals and the Greens, as well as concerns regarding its ‘practical implementation’.

In her advice the Commissioner said the Bill failed to adequately justify the power to randomly stop drivers for a drug test – a practice she pointed out was rare internationally – and that the lack of justification “could lead to a declaration of incompatibility if this issue was to come before the Supreme Court”.

Interesting times.

UPDATE: The Liberal Bill, with some amendments, has been passed.

What’s Your opinion?


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Chiefly broadsides in the drug driving battle
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farq 10:10 am 05 Jul 10

fgzk said :

“So sonny I don’t like the of your dreads and colourful cloths. You look like a druggy. I am taking you into custody for a drug test.”

What do you think tooks. Does that sound like detaining someone before a test has been done. Sounds like you can be taken from anywhere because you look a certain way.

Ah, a return to old-fashion policing!

fgzk 8:48 am 05 Jul 10

Tooks….No need for restraint here.

This legislation is not just about testing on the roadside.

Section 12A

(1) This section applies to a person if any 1 or more of the following
5 paragraphs applies to the person:

##This could happen anywhere. Reasonable cause could be keys in your pocket.###
(b) a police officer has reasonable cause to suspect that the person
was the driver of a motor vehicle on a public street or in a
public place;

##not sure how this one fits in. ….##
If a police officer has reasonable cause to suspect that the person’s
2 behaviour or appearance indicates that the person may be impaired
3 for a reason other than alcohol alone, the police officer may require
4 the person to undergo an assessment of drug impairment.

##And here we are taken, into custody to undergo a test.##
(3) For the purpose of requiring someone to undergo an assessment of
6 drug impairment, a police officer may take the person into custody.
the person to undergo an assessment of drug impairment.
###########################

“So sonny I don’t like the of your dreads and colourful cloths. You look like a druggy. I am taking you into custody for a drug test.”

What do you think tooks. Does that sound like detaining someone before a test has been done. Sounds like you can be taken from anywhere because you look a certain way.

Tooks 10:39 am 03 Jul 10

CraigT said :

You can be driving perfectly sensibly down the road and get randomly pulled over to blow in their tube.
If they don’t like what they see, they take you back to the station for a different test, which can take hours.

You clearly no little – if anything – about blood alcohol testing procedures.

Police don’t take you in for a second test if they “don’t like what they see.” They detain you if the roadside test indicates you have alcohol in you blood which may exceed the limit.

They then take you to the nearest police station for the breath analysis, which takes about 5 minutes (plus observation time). It certainly doesn’t take hours.

Tooks 10:29 am 03 Jul 10

fgzk said :

Craig “What a waste of space she is.”

Here I was thinking that the major concern was detaining people for a second test when the first was deemed unreliable. Or detaining people for a period of time because they had eaten or consumed drinks before the test, even though the test was negative. I’m sure the law abiding community wont mind being treated like a drunk driver for half an hour of detention. It might do them some good. Encourage them to respect the decisions of the police or face being physically restrained and blood tested.

Are you talking about something that happened to you? If so, you seem to have little understanding of the process. The first screening test done on the road gives police an indication on whether there is alcohol in the blood which is equal to or higher than the legal limit.

If the screening test is positive, you are detained, then taken to a police station for the breath analysis, which gives you the blood alcohol concentration reading.

Eating or drinking in between the screening test and the breath analysis may effect the reading, which is why it isn’t allowed during that period (I’m guessing that’s what you were talking about?). If you do either during that time, then yes, the 20 minute observation period has to start again.

If you were physically restrained at any time, you may want to have a look at your own behaviour.

CraigT 8:58 pm 01 Jul 10

Erm, in what way do the current arbitrary blood-alcohol tests take any account of any kind of impairment limit?

You can be driving perfectly sensibly down the road and get randomly pulled over to blow in their tube.
If they don’t like what they see, they take you back to the station for a different test, which can take hours.

If you aren’t complaining about the complete arbitrariness of blood-alcohol limits you are a hypocrite to complain about any other proposed arbitrary law.

Jim Jones 1:49 pm 01 Jul 10

dvaey said :

CraigT said :

How odd, there was me thinking drivers were already routinely stopped randomly for testing of their blood-alcohol levels.

Theres significant difference though. Imagine if breath testing showed whether there was any trace of alcohol in your system, or had been in the past week. Thats what this legislation does, as theres no offence of being over some impairment limit, simply an offence of testing positive to even trace amounts. The reason alcohol testing has been widely accepted, is because it is possible to measure someones impairment, and not simply remove them from the road because your machine tells you they tested positive to having a couple of beers one night, a week earlier.

And this is about the point that someone pipes up and says: “drugs are bad mmmkay”.

Maybe we could get CreativeCanberra going again: he started off in a thread lamenting “my generation’s approach to drugs” and their appalling risk taking, and finished by responding to PB by claiming that 85% of Australian youth has not tried drugs.

My god but it was hilarious watching that dude tie himself in knots trying to respond to PB.

dvaey 1:41 pm 01 Jul 10

CraigT said :

How odd, there was me thinking drivers were already routinely stopped randomly for testing of their blood-alcohol levels.

Theres significant difference though. Imagine if breath testing showed whether there was any trace of alcohol in your system, or had been in the past week. Thats what this legislation does, as theres no offence of being over some impairment limit, simply an offence of testing positive to even trace amounts. The reason alcohol testing has been widely accepted, is because it is possible to measure someones impairment, and not simply remove them from the road because your machine tells you they tested positive to having a couple of beers one night, a week earlier.

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