Drivers detected driving with ecstasy would not be penalised under the Rann Government’s new drug driving laws, Shadow Police Minister Rob Lucas said today.
“It seems hard to understand why the Rann Government would decide on such a bizarre policy unless the explanation is that this is yet another ‘stuff up’ by Transport Minister Conlon,” Mr Lucas said.
“Under the Rann Government’s new drug driving laws starting in just two weeks drivers detected with marijuana or speed in their saliva face significant penalties such as fines and licence suspensions.
“The saliva test will also tell police if the driver has been driving with ecstasy in their system. However, whilst police will record and report this result, the driver with ecstasy will not face these penalties at all!
“What this bizarre policy means is that for those people who use illicit drugs there will be a clear incentive to use ecstasy rather than speed or marijuana because they won’t face the same penalties!
“Earlier this week, when Mr Conlon was asked if ecstasy would be one of the drugs detected by the tests, he was embarrassed when he couldn’t answer this simple but important question from journalists. In fact, his answer to this question was:
“Look, you’d have to ask the police about the actual scientific basis of the tests, I’m not an expert on recreational drugs …”
Mr Conlon, ABC Radio, 13 June 2006
“Whilst South Australians might not expect Mr Conlon to be an expert, he is expected to at least understand what his own laws will cover.
“This embarrassment for Mr Conlon comes after months of other bungles and ‘stuff ups’:
• Blowouts of hundreds of millions of dollars in the cost of the South Road and Northern Expressway transport projects
• Extra police powers under the drug driving laws having to be rushed through Parliament in the next week because Mr Conlon didn’t ensure their passage last year
• Ongoing controversy about the cost and impact of the tramline extension project
• Ongoing problems with purchases of new trams and new red light cameras
“The accident prone Mr Conlon has quickly become the Mr Magoo of South Australian politics.
“Sadly for South Australians, Mr Conlon’s performance as Minister demonstrates that a quick tongue laced with one-liners and vitriol is no substitute for competence, commonsense and hard work.
“Mr Conlon now needs to explain urgently why drivers detected with ecstasy will not face the same penalties as those detected with marijuana and speed.”