The Rann Government has been left red-faced by revelations that the Victorian Labor Government this year amended its drug driving legislation to include ecstasy as a prescribed drug, Shadow Police Minister Rob Lucas said today.
“The changes to Victoria’s drug driving laws will take effect on 1 July, the same date as South Australia’s less comprehensive drug driving laws will take effect,” Mr Lucas said.
“In a series of media interviews today the Rann Government has defended its decision not to include ecstasy (MDMA) in its drug driving legislation by claiming it was ‘modelled on Victorian legislation.’ For example:
“… we are targeting the two drugs which we find in the system of people post mortem … this is legislation which has been tried and tested in other States, it’s a model that is now, we believe, other jurisdictions have got it right, it’s the model that we’ve taken from Victoria…”
Carmel Zollo, Minister for Road Safety, 5AA, 19 June 2006
“However, the Minister and the Rann Government have been exposed as either ignorant or as having deliberately tried to mislead South Australians.
“In speaking on the second reading of the Road Safety (Drugs) Bill 2006 that added ecstasy to Victoria’s list of prescribed drugs, the Labor Minister for Transport stated:
“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 Minister for Transport, Hansard, 1 March 2006
“Mr Batchelor also noted the Government had acted quickly because ‘during the trial period statistics revealed a sharp increase in the number of drivers killed in road crashes who tested positive to MDMA, or ecstasy, as it is more commonly known.’
“There is no longer any excuse for not including ecstasy as a prescribed drug under the drug driving legislation.
“The Rann Government’s handling of this legislation has been a disaster right from the start.
“The Rann Government must follow the lead of the Victorian Government to ensure drivers detected with ecstasy in their system do not escape any penalty.”