As we’ve mentioned before in our blogs, one of the most common comments we receive is that drug and alcohol testing should start with our politicians. This view gained further traction recently when a state MP used (amongst other things) his addiction issues as a reason for his behaviour when he destroyed a hotel door.
While drug and alcohol testing of politicians would likely win a popular vote, does this mean it’s a good idea? At the risk of being shouted down just for raising the question, let us explain.
In the United States, drug and alcohol testing in the workplace is quite common and it’s not isolated to roles where safety is important. Even white collar workers who risk nothing more than a paper cut may be subject to workplace drug and alcohol testing in the United States, alongside blue collar workers such as miners, manufacturers, transportation workers and others. It’s why around around 70% of employees in the United States face drug and alcohol testing as part of their job or as part of pre-employment testing.
In Australia, however, drug and alcohol testing in the workplace is all about reducing safety risks. Which is why you generally don’t see white collar workers undergoing testing, but in industries such as mining, agriculture, transportation and manufacturing, drug and alcohol testing is more common.
Of course, you could certainly argue that you would rather people who are making decisions on the running of our country to be not under the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, it would certainly be a stretch to argue for the introduction of drug and alcohol testing for politicians on the grounds of safety. Even though it sometimes gets a little heated during parliament question time!
So, if you’re going to argue that politicians should face drug and alcohol testing in Australia, you could just as easily suggest that any manager who is also making decisions of importance should also undergo drug and alcohol testing. In fact, you could probably argue that almost any worker should undergo drug and alcohol testing.
That would perhaps be OK for our business, but it wouldn’t win the popular vote!
Drug and alcohol testing for politicians – what do you think?
So, what do you think? Should more politicians face drug and alcohol testing? Should drug and alcohol testing be widened to include more work roles, including so-called white collar roles?
We’ve love to hear your thoughts. Add a comment on our website or on our Facebook page. Just keep the comments clean!
Should politicians face drug and alcohol testing? Credit Doc Searls (image modified) https://www.flickr.com/photos/docsearls/13627519673/