- The real threats to our liberty and survival
- Avoiding the abyss of conspiracy theories
- The difference between a legal system and a fantasy novel
- What’s a conspiracy and what’s just common garden variety corruption?
- Unpredictability, humility and an emerging anthropandemic
- The trilemma – climate change, economic collapse, and rising fascism
- Happy New Normal for the decade ahead
- Fires, liars and climate deniers
- The race to the bottom in australian politics
- Talking about lock-on devices – an article in ‘The Conversation’
- The Ponzi scheme is teetering
- Regenerative culture a key part of the blockade experience
- Staying sane in the late Anthropocene
- Extinction Rebellion
- Major parties have failed on climate, it’s time to rebel.
- Elections In The Late Anthropocene
- It is the Greens that are defeating the Nats and it’s all about your preferences
- Australia’s powerhouse of democracy and innovation is in the Northern Rivers
- Is identity politics a problem for the left?
- The climate emergency and the awful state of Australian politics
- Liberty, freedom and civil rights? Do any of us understand these things anymore.
- Democracy and rights under threat in corporate police state
- The forest wars are back, time to mobilise
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- News & Events
- Activism educator Aidan Ricketts explains how and why protests can be peaceful
- Bob Brown Is Taking “Shocking” Anti-Protest Laws To The High Court
- Anti protest laws could arrest nannas, seize tractors
- “They blinked first”
- Colin Barnett quick to protest against ‘activism degrees’ – The Australian, 16/10/2014
- ‘Degrees in activism’ put brake on growth – The Australian, 15/10/2014
- Magistrate throws out vexatious police case against CSG protesters
- Outrage over school PR ‘by stealth’- The Northern Star
- CSG clash a certainty
- Communities use new tactics
- Gas group attacks lecturer
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- Activist Resources
No-one seriously disagrees with getting actual drug-impaired drivers off the road. The rules for alcohol and other drugs should be the same. Unfortunately the current drug testing regime in NSW is a debacle, it has lost its connection to the aim of road safety and is bringing the law into disrepute. The current testing processes leave everybody; drivers, police and the Courts having to guess just what the tests are detecting and for how long they can record minute traces of prior drug use.
If people are going to be subjected to forced swabs, and the loss of their driving licence there is an obligation to provide a coherent , evidence-based and transparent rationale for the process. When the laws were passed, the stated intention was to detect ‘active’ drugs that were impairing drivers. Instead, the testing is so finely tuned that no-one accurately knows how far back it is picking up prior use, passive smoking or false positives. It is not acceptable to misuse a law designed for road safety as a trojan horse for zero tolerance prohibition.
Earlier this week a Lismore driver was acquitted by the Local Court despite a positive test for the presence of cannabis because the Court found that he honestly and reasonably had relied on representations made by police about how long cannabis remained detectable in saliva following consumption. The NSW government’s own road safety website advises that cannabis can only be detected for up to 12 hours after consumption. This driver had not smoked cannabis for a week and half prior to the swab.
The knee jerk argument of “smoking pot is illegal anyway” is not an acceptable excuse for the maladministration of our road safety laws. By using test kits that are massively oversensitive for the legislative purpose that justifies them, the drug testing regime has become a perversion of justice.
Drug prohibition and road safety are separate issues. Prohibition is a globally discredited policy from which most civilised nations are currently beating a hasty retreat. Road safety on the other hand does matter, and we are entitled to a system of drug and alcohol testing that is conducted in good faith, and with accurate equipment that actually tests for driver impairment.
As it now stands a serious question mark hangs over every prosecution under these laws and the government needs to go back to the drawing board.
This article was originally published in the Northern Rivers Echo on February, 2016.