Politicians may have to take breath test

CANBERRA Thu Dec 4, 2008 1:40pm EST

A woman demonstrates the use of an electronic breathalyzer test for discotheques, bars and public spots in Paris December 20, 2005. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

A woman demonstrates the use of an electronic breathalyzer test for discotheques, bars and public spots in Paris December 20, 2005.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Platiau

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CANBERRA (Reuters) - Politicians in Australia's most populous state could be breath-tested for alcohol before voting on laws after a series of late-night incidents that have embarrassed the center-left government.

New South Wales state lawmaker Andrew Fraser resigned from his conservative opposition frontbench role after shoving a female colleague in the wake of Christmas party celebrations.

"Breath test this mob," said a front page headline in Sydney's mass-selling Daily Telegraph newspaper. State police minister Matt Brown was dumped from his portfolio in September after allegedly "dirty" dancing in his underwear over the chest of a female colleague after a drunken post-budget office party.

Conservative Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said he would support alcohol breath tests for drunkenness for lawmakers before they entered parliament, while Green MPs John Kaye and Lee Rhiannon also backed the plan, along with the parliament's speaker.

"Honestly, if you are going to have breathalyzers for people driving cranes you should have breathalyzers for people writing laws," Kaye told the Telegraph.

(Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Valerie Lee)

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