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November 29, 2021

Greens call for end to ‘unreliable’ roadside drug testing

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L to R: Cate Faehrmann, Sue Higginson, Ron Priestley and Tamara Smith at today’s announcement. Photo Jeff Dawson

The Greens chose the revitalised Mullumbimby Gateway to announce this lunchtime that they will call for an end to the practice of roadside drug testing (RDT).

Greens drug law reform spokesperson Cate Faehrmann described the testing as ‘arbitrary and unreliable’ adding it was not a road safety measure but ‘an extension of the failed war on drugs’.

She was joined at the announcement by Ballina MP Tamara Smith and Lismore Greens candidate Sue Higginson, together with a moderator of the Facebook group North Coast RDT Locations, Ron Priestly.

Disproportionately targeted

The Greens say research suggests the NSW Police ‘are disproportionately targeting the Northern Rivers with the rate of drug driving convictions in the Richmond – Tweed area the highest in the state, at 470 per 100,000 population – more than five times the NSW average of 92.9.

They add that unlike breath testing for alcohol, the RDT is not evidence-based.

‘We know that drugs like marijuana will stay in people’s system for days, or even weeks, after consumption. This means drivers are being convicted despite no evidence of impairment or threat to road safety,’ Ms Faehrmann said.

Ms Smith said, ‘The question needs to be asked – is a driver who has smoked a joint a week ago an impaired driver? Let’s use the science to find out the answer and then communicate that to the public so that they can make informed choices about driving and ingesting drugs and alcohol’.

Ms Higginson, a lawyer, said the current regime is ‘unfairly wrecking people’s lives, clogging up our courts, costing enormous amounts of money and wasting police resources’.

‘That is why the Greens are calling for an end to roadside drug testing until an evidence based roadside drug testing programme is introduced that actually tests for impairment, rather than simply presence of drugs,’ Ms Faehrmann added.

500 votes

Mr Priestly said that most of his group’s nearly 21,000 members are spread over the three North Coast electorates of Ballina, Tweed and Lismore.

He said the group’s how to vote card advocates voting Greens 1 and Country Labor 2 in all electorates.

‘There would be an average of about 6,000 potential voters in each electorate. My ambition is to try to get 500 new votes in each electorate. As only just over about 50,000 votes were cast last time in each electorate, I saw 500 new votes as possibly enough to get rid of the Nationals.’



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  1. This is a pretty simple equation for the Nats to work with in all 3 seats…drop the stupid ‘regardless of impairment’ testing or lose the seats.

    The Nats were happy to push back on country people getting caught out on point-to-point speed-averaging cameras (https://www.smh.com.au/national/illogical-surgeons-back-push-to-extend-point-to-point-speed-cameras-to-all-cars-20180516-p4zfpl.html)

    But not this subject.

    They will lose all three seats as a result.

  2. Anyone stupid enough to get caught by point-to-point speed cameras, deserve to get fined. To argue otherwise is incomprehensible. Either you abide by the speed limits or you don’t. Your choice. But don’t moan about it.

  3. Maybe there is some sort of evidence that the Greens are not seeing.
    A driver smokes a joint a week ago and then gets picked up on the road by RDT and gets fined.
    That actual fine and conviction is evidence.
    Does the driver then not smoke marijuana ever again and then drive?
    No. Because smoking a joint is an addiction. The addiction of marijuana is not attended to as a health hazard.
    This is a nice little earner for the government no matter who the government is.
    It is like convicting a driver for breathing.

  4. It’s a pretty simple equation Jimbo Jones….drugs are illegal, driving with a drug in your system is illegal. The Greens are really faux communists that want working people to pay for their layabout lifestyles. A vote for Greens means more crime on the streets, less jobs, less infrastructure, more people dying from once eradicated disease. VOTE 1 GREENS!

  5. marijuana is not ‘magic’…you don’t stay stoned for a fng WEEK, you’re likely not impaired after half an hr!


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