The Rann Government’s refusal to include ecstasy as a prescribed drug under drug driving legislation leaves it out of step with other Labor Governments that have or are introducing similar legislation, Shadow Police Minister Rob Lucas said today.
“It was revealed earlier this week that Victoria, the state upon whose legislation ours is said to have been modelled, has changed its legislation to include MDMA or ecstasy,” Mr Lucas said.
“The devices used in roadside drug testing also detect MDMA or ‘ecstasy’, which is a popular drug, particularly in the ‘rave’ scene. MDMA is considered by scientific experts to impair driving ability. The number of drivers killed in road crashes testing positive to this drug tripled between 2002 and 2004. Moreover, MDMA is illegal in Australia, and there are no legitimate reasons for a driver to have traces of MDMA in his or her saliva or blood. This bill adds MDMA to the list of prescribed illicit drugs for which a driver may be prosecuted if detected by roadside testing devices.”
Peter Batchelor, Victorian Transport Minister, Hansard, 1 March 2006
However, legislation being drafted in Western Australia also includes ecstasy in that state’s drug driving testing regime.
“A proposal for random roadside drug testing using oral fluids – that is, saliva – has been approved by cabinet and is being drafted. The saliva testing will focus on drugs known to impair driving and which are amenable to screening by oral fluid at the roadside; that is, MDMA or ecstasy, methamphetamine or speed, and THC, that is, active cannabis.”
John Kobelke, WA Police Minister, Hansard, 24 May 2006
“MDMA or ecstasy is also among drugs included in testing under Tasmania’s legislation passed last year, which does include blood tests as well as saliva tests.
“Given that the saliva test to be conducted here in South Australia from July 1 will tell police if the driver has been driving with MDMA or ecstasy in their system, it seems hard to understand why the Rann Government would not list it as a prescribed drug.
“Contrary to suggestions being made by the Rann Government, our legislation does not even need to be amended – the Act passed last year allows for drugs to be prescribed by regulation, with the first such regulations yet to be issued by the Rann Government.
“Under the Government’s current plans, police will record and report any positive test for ecstasy, but the driver testing positive only for ecstasy will not face any penalty at all!
“Whilst other Labor State Governments have moved on ecstasy, sadly for South Australians Mr Rann refuses to budge and remains ‘asleep at the wheel’.”