Jeremy Hanson vs. Jon Stanhope
In a frenzy to implement drug driving laws, the ACT Liberal opposition has pumped the serving Labor government for rejecting their bill. The ALP government criticised the bill for having varying minimum legal limits for different types of drugs. If it seems logical to you that the new laws reflect the level of impairment as opposed to just a zero limit then you are not alone. Some drugs can linger in your system for weeks or months while not having any effect on your capacity to drive. This was the main concern of rights groups who wanted drug driving penalties to reflect the level of impairment based on scientific research and not just a blanket zero limit policy. The problem being that some drugs can remain in your system after the effect has worn off but alcohol has a direct link between what’s in your blood and your level of impairment.
“His unfounded attacks are based on the false statement that the Canberra Liberals RDT Legislation would test for safe limits of illegal drugs rather than test for the presence of certain illegal drugs. This is incorrect. My legislation clearly tests for the presence of illicit drugs and states that for a prescribed illicit drug, ‘any concentration of the drug present in the blood’ would be an offence.”
-Shadow Minister for Everything, Jeremy Hanson MLA( LP) - Media Release February 2010
Several groups made submissions to the government voicing their concerns that the bill proposal would overlook scientific evidence and any trace of illicit drugs while driving would become an offence. Like us all, they were well aware that hysteria, political posturing and ignorant politicians had great influence on legislation involving drugs. Apart from not setting in minimum limits for different drugs based on their toxicology, many were concerned that drug driving could be also used for criminal persecution.
Back then, ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope and the ACT government were in total agreement with the rights groups
The Minister said “I needed to be certain that the testing was about road safety and not about catching drug users and punishing them for using drugs rather than endangering other road users.”
“As a Minister, I will do whatever I can to improve road safety but I am not going to be involved in punishing ACT drug users for their addiction. The Government’s attitude is clear in relation to that – we have adopted a harm minimisation approach to drug users and will stick to that.”
-Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, John Hargreaves(ALP) - Media Release April 2008
So it was a surprise when ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope criticised the opposition’s proposal for setting limits on different drugs.
"This Bill deems that Canberrans cannot drive with even low levels of marijuana or amphetamine in their systems, but allows that when it comes to other illegal drugs - cocaine, or LSD for example - ‘safe' levels could be established. Labor's upcoming Bill, by contrast, treats all illegal drugs equally.”
-Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope MLA(ALP) - Media Release February 2010
From stupid to ridiculous. The opposition denies it has varying limits on different classes of drugs which makes them just as stupid as Labor ... only not as hypocritical. And if you examine closely the drugs mentioned, you may be even more baffled - “Canberrans cannot drive with even low levels of marijuana or amphetamine in their systems”. Cannabis is the main drug of contention because it can linger in your system for weeks. Both political parties are now pushing for a zero limit on all drugs which means you can be charged for drug driving even though you haven’t smoke pot for over a week. Logical and sensible? What do you expect from politicians?
Now You Can See The Movie!
In my last post, I discussed Mike Rann’s deceitful attempt to incite drug hysteria in the up coming election. For those who weren’t convinced, he made it into a TV commercial. Look out for the manipulation of Isobel Redmond’s quote.