The ACT Liberal Democratic Party believes that the provision of working legal and law enforcement systems is one of the highest duties of government. Access to justice is a key right that all Canberrans expect and deserve. The courts system in the ACT has been chronically underfunded for a number of years and this has significantly undermined the ability of the courts to provide services to the standard expected by the community. These negative consequences include poor outcomes in matters prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) because of understaffing within that office, unacceptable waiting times for civil matters to be heard and resolved, and waiting times for criminal matters that both impact on those facing criminal charges and on the community in their expectations that criminal matters will be resolved quickly, fairly and comprehensively.

The ACT Liberal Democrats consider the repair of the courts system to be a high priority. We agree with calls for government to review its funding arrangements for the courts system, including the DPP.

We believe that the current regime of roadside drug testing is unfair and would move to replace the testing mechanism with a robust and defensible method. At this time, the technology used for testing road users can assess traces of cannabis within the bloodstream. It cannot, however, demonstrate that the roaduser is impaired by the drug. The ACT Liberal Democrats believe people that are drug impaired should not be driving and supports appropriate sanctions against those who breach applicable legislation.

The ACT Liberal Democrats regard legal aid as a worthwhile social service, especially where it helps the poor and marginalised facing criminal charges.

The ACT Liberal Democratic Party:

  1. Would immediately push for an investigation into the current issues facing the ACT courts system. We would support increases in funding where those increases are required to address shortcomings around DPP performance, court waiting times, and access to justice.
  2. Oppose the use of ‘night courts’ without appropriate resourcing as a long-term solution to addressing the backlog in cases affecting the ACT courts system.
  3. Would abolish road side drug testing where the test is unable to determine whether a driver is impaired by a drug. The responsibility is on the state to demonstrate that a driver is impaired, not merely that they have traces in their system.
  4. Believes that legal aid is a worthwhile social service, especially where it helps the poor and marginalised facing criminal charges, and would maintain support for the program.