by Peter Gardiner
FORMER policeman turned politician representing Noosa in federal parliament is quite happy to blow in the bag or be drug tested while serving in the house.
And he is backing calls by Senator Jacqui Lambie to dish out the same sobering checks on elected representatives as the Turnbull Government is about to impose on 5000 welfare recepients.
Mr O'Brien, who was a random breath testing police officer before being elected to Wide Bay at the last election, told the ABC that this was a "no brainer”.
"Politicians have a great deal of responsibility particularly when they're in the chamber and they have the protection of parliamentary privilege,” he said. "A politician can say something under parliamentary privilege without fear of prosecution, or defamation, and really, they could say something that could ruin someone's life.
"If you're in a position such as that, I think the community, in this day and age, should be satisfied that you're not impaired by alcohol of drugs while you're in there.”
"There have been times when people have been named unfairly or incorrectly and it's had a very significant and damaging impact on their life.”
Mr O'Brien said his workplace, unlike most other places of employment which follow a duty of care, serves alcohol during the lunch parliament lunch break.
He had not seen "people or politicians stumbling around drunk”.
"But at the same time, as a policeman, the person walking from the pub to their car isn't always staggering around drunk,” Mr O'Brien said.