OPINION: Drug testing should be compulsory for politicians
SHOULD politicians be alcohol and drug tested?
That's a question that has jumped up again given the recent spat of damaging incidents involving our elected members.
I have no doubt there are a number of MPs across Australia who should seek treatment for their alcohol consumption.
It's a high-pressure job and sometimes drink can be an escape that can lead to a more serious problem that can affect performance.
But it's legal to consume alcohol so they, as responsible and mature intelligent people, should be able to exercise appropriate self-control and judgement during work hours.
However, I think random breath testing should be considered for those elected to serve in federal, state and local government - just as a safeguard.
No-one who is making important decisions on behalf of the people should have excess alcohol in their system.
We don't want anyone with their hand on the political steering wheel taking a wrong turn down policy street because of some impaired thought process.
On the other hand, using illegal narcotics is a criminal offence in most states and therefore no politicians should be involved.
Therefore drug testing should not be an issue with anyone serving in the public office.
I don't see it as an invasion of privacy or civil rights because it is illegal and therefore people in higher office should have nothing to fear.
However it has always struck me as interesting that the ACT has the most relaxed laws for cannabis use in Australia.
Possession of up to two non-hydroponic cannabis plants, or up to 25 grams of marijuana triggers a $100 fine with 60 days to pay instead of a criminal charge.