Vaughan Johnson offers apology for foreign drivers comments

Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson with Premier Campbell Newman. Photo Meghan Kidd / CQ News
Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson with Premier Campbell Newman. Photo Meghan Kidd / CQ News Meghan Kidd EME251013cab2630

A COUNTRY MP who delivered two attacks on foreign and city drivers in 24 hours - particularly singling out Asian drivers - has apologised for any offence he might have caused.

Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson issued a statement about his comments after Premier Campbell Newman told media he had "been spoken to".

He had earlier spoken on 4BC radio about how Asian people had no comprehension of the road rules and foreign drivers should be forced to have training before being let loose on Queensland roads.

"I wish to apologise for any offence caused by my recent comments regarding foreign drivers on Queensland roads,'' he said in a statement.

"I wanted to convey that all drivers in Queensland must take care on the roads.

"I regret the way in which I expressed my concerns, and acknowledge my comments were inappropriate."

Mr Newman said he did not agree with Mr Johnson's comments but had great respect for "Vaughan's efforts as a hard working local member".

"I think it was inappropriate and he knows that is the case," he said.

Earlier: A COUNTRY MP has delivered his second attack on foreign and city drivers in 24 hours.

Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson, speaking on a transport amendment act in Queensland Parliament last night, said country roads presented a challenge for people who were not used to them.

"I am not here this afternoon to pay out on foreign motorists, but I notice that a lot of our foreign visitors to this country have no understanding at all of the conditions of the roads that they drive on, the distances they drive and what lays ahead," he said.

"I know many of our city people do not understand country roads either.

"At the end of the day, we have to be very understanding of each other's area.

"If somebody like myself comes to the city, they have to be observant, understand where they are going and know the issues.

"Some of the problems confronting us in this state in relation to road safety issues that are hurting us are because people are not aware of the conditions they are driving under."

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Mr Johnson, whose electorate covers much of central and southern Queensland, then specifically singled out Asian drivers when he clarified his parliament comments during an interview on 4BC this morning.

"It's foreign people who come here, want to work here, we get a lot of backpackers working in this country now," he said.

"Some of those people come from countries where they drive on a different side of the road to us.

"Many of those Asian people, and I'm not against Asian people and don't get me wrong, but a lot of those Asian people come an environment where they have no comprehension of road rules in their own countries let alone come here and think they can just meld into the system. It doesn't work like that.

"Many of these people don't understand the distances they drive.

"We've had fatalities on the roads here in Queensland and Australia, many of them have been foreign people with no comprehension at all of the distances of the fatigue factor and every other factor that goes with driving in our country."

Mr Johnson said he did not have breakdowns on how many foreigners were dying on Queensland roads.

He said he wanted foreign drivers to have training with driving instructors before they can drive on Queensland roads, calling for even those on short holidays to know the rules.

Mr Johnson said drivers in south-east Queensland were bad enough "let alone foreign drivers".

"What I would like to see here is people that want to drive in our country have a full understanding of the complexities of driving here," he said.

"I'm a fairly experienced driving I wouldn't even attempt to drive in one of those countries.

"We have huge distances, difficult terrain in many places, narrow bitumen in places."

Mr Johnson said his government had a responsibility to the Queensland people to ensure roads were safe.


EARLIER: Qld outback MP fumes about foreign drivers... again

IT HAS been 1750 days between rants, but the Member for Gregory, Vaughan Johnson, will not be silenced on foreign drivers while speaking on transport legislation.

In November 2009, while speaking on a different transport bill, Mr Johnson couldn't help but give his opinion on foreign taxi drivers.

Wednesday presented a different government and a different transport bill, but Mr Johnson still had concerns about foreign drivers, albeit, less extreme than his concerns from 2009.

"I'm not here this afternoon to pay out on foreign motorists," he said, while speaking on the Transport and Other Legislation Amendment Bill.

"But I notice a lot of our foreign visitors to this country have no understanding at all of the conditions of the roads that they drive on the distances they drive and what lays ahead."

Read more at Brisbane Times