From Barnaby Joyce To Perin Davey: Should We Be Breath Testing Politicians?

A push to breath test those in parliament has grown after recent headlines of high profile politicians raised questions about the drinking culture in Canberra.

Independent MP Zali Steggall made the call after the high-profile drinking “incidents” in recent weeks.

The first involved former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who was caught on camera lying on a pavement and swearing into his phone.

Joyce later admitted it was a “big mistake”, saying the incident was caused by a combination of prescription medicine and too much to drink.

“I’m on a prescription drug and they say certain things may happen to you if you drink and they were absolutely 100 per cent right,” he said at the time.

“Obviously, I made a big mistake, there’s no excuse for it. It was a very eventful walk home, wasn’t it?

Joyce has since apologised for his drunken incident, calling it a “big mistake. Source: Getty.

In a seperate incident, Deputy Nationals Leader Perin Davey appeared to slur her words while asking questions at a Senate hearing last week.

Davey later admitted to drinking two glasses of red wine before appearing at the hearing, but denied she was drunk and said she was “mortified by how this is being reported”.

“Unfortunately the focus is on my enunciation rather than what I was actually asking about,” she said.

Perin Davey admitted to having two glasses of wine before a Senate hearing. Image: Getty.

The two incidents have sparked debate about the workplace culture inside Parliament House, with Steggall saying random alcohol and drug testing should be considered.

“I’m a little surprised people aren’t self-regulating better,” she told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

“If you are tested, and you have consumed too much, there would be consequences.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese dismissed the idea of breath testing. Source: Getty.

However, any changes to the rules seem unlikely, with little support from fellow politicians including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

“Well, there is no alcohol in my office. A bit of common sense should apply,” he said.

“People are adults and they should behave responsibly like any adult should.”

Nationals leader David Littleproud also said the criticism was an “overreach”.

“I have every confidence in Perin and her ability, she’s been very clear that she wasn’t drunk and I support her wholeheartedly,” he said.

“We actually are responsible as adults as we go to parliament, and Perin takes that very seriously.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also disagreed with breath-testing, saying it was an individual responsibility and people will have learnt their lessons from the past few weeks.