Bill: STATUTES AMENDMENT (DRINK AND DRUG DRIVING)


Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (18:41): I indicate that I am not the lead speaker for the opposition on this important bill, but I am pleased to join the debate at a time when I have the opportunity to debate against the points made by the member for Fisher, the parliamentary secretary, who has just provided what I would characterise as a 'both ways' contribution: she wants to have it both ways. She is in favour of medicinal cannabis and, in fact, she said she is in favour of the use of medicinal cannabis being allowed on the roads, but not now.

We also know that she is in favour of pill testing being provided to people who go to rave festivals. The technology is sufficient for the member for Fisher to argue that pill testing at rave festivals is safe so that you can take dangerous illicit drugs. You can put them through a test that will indicate to the person what is in them, what it is providing them, to the point where it is safe, where that is a better outcome than providing them with an unambiguous response, 'No, you can't take these illicit drugs. They are bad for you, they will kill you, they will change the way you behave in a way that is dangerous.'

Mr Odenwalder interjecting:

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!

Mr GARDNER: That technology is apparently well advanced enough, but not the idea of medicinal cannabis that the member says she is in favour of, with inactive THC components, or at least THC that is not going to impede in this way. The member for Schubert will talk more about that. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot be as soft on drugs as you can get on the one hand and then claim that you are a champion of law and order and road safety on the other. It is not a straightforward philosophical position: it is an attempt to please everybody but, of course, you attempt to please everybody and you walk away from the principles you hold dear. I do not think for a second that the member for Fisher really, truly, in her heart, believes it.

She said that in the future she wants this legislation to pass in its current form. This amendment is one that she philosophically agrees with and, in the future, when she says that apparently the testing regime is going to improve, she would support it. It does not work that way. The member for Fisher identified that the Liberal Party's election commitment in relation to drug sniffing dogs in schools is something that she does not support and that police dogs, the beagles the police use in an environment to sniff out drugs, should not be going into schools. This is the parliamentary secretary for the same government that said that our policy was not necessary because this already happens in schools.

Ms Cook interjecting:

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!

Mr GARDNER: Peter Malinauskas said that this already happens in schools, yet the member for Fisher argues that she does not want the dogs in schools.

Ms Cook interjecting:

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order!

Mr GARDNER: You cannot have it both ways. You cannot just try to appeal to whatever audience you are trying to speak to at the time: it does not work that way. You take a policy. You take a bill. You apply your principles to it and you consider it in accordance with your philosophy. If your philosophy says that community feedback is a relevant and valuable consideration, then you can look at it through that lens too, but you cannot tell one audience that you want pill testing at raves and you want to be able to tell kids that it is safe to take those drugs that have gone through that pill testing and tell others that there are not sufficient protections for us to be able to consider the amendment that was put by the Hon. Kelly Vincent.

You cannot say on the one hand that you do not want to have dogs going into schools to try to find drugs, but on the other hand be part of a government and defend the words of the former minister for police when he says, 'The Liberals' policy is unnecessary because we are already doing this. We already have dogs going into schools.' Seriously, it is beagles checking out school lockers occasionally to make sure that there is a positive drugs message being able to be presented to kids at schools.

Those schools that have gone through this—not so many recently, but certainly in previous years when schools have done this—had very positive outcomes. It has been a very positive opportunity for kids to be able to engage with police in a positive way. As one principal said to me, 'You know what? We found some drugs too.' That is good. We were able to get drugs out of those kids' locker rooms.

The member for Schubert and I went to a school recently where a principal told us that kids' parents gave them drugs to take to school to sell to their friends. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. It needs to be addressed seriously. It cannot be addressed by the 'have it both ways' approach of the parliamentary secretary. You cannot please everybody. Sometimes you have to make a call: is this the right decision or is this the wrong decision?

I think the bill we have before us has had some of those considerations put to it and I think that the government is trying to have it both ways. They are trying to say that they are in favour of medicinal cannabis, but they still want to try to appeal to a political approach that frankly is not in the best interests of the people of South Australia and it is one that they do not even believe in themselves.