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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3025..


MR MOORE (continuing):

giving me the numbers I needed to have a government bill for the house. Mrs Carnell, the then Chief Minister, as was her prerogative, allowed a conscience vote to some members of cabinet on that particular issue. That was not the only time she did it.

This raises a very interesting issue about crossbenchers and parties that come out through this process. If there was a lot more conscience votes and a lot more room for members of parties to express what they really believed, I think that the growing movement of Independents, One Nation and parties of that kind would be reduced. People in the electorate find a frustration with the major parties having a single position when they know that members of the party have a different personal view. I doubt whether that will be influential on parties, but if they want to resolve the problem of the growing Independent movement across Australia that would be my advice on dealing with it.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that almost everybody here has some self-interest. I have not declared my self-interest. My self-interest is that I have worked for 12 years to try to ensure that, amongst other things, we attempt to deal with drug problems in a wide range of ways, including by trialling the provision of heroin, not in the way that Mr Kaine suggests, by GPs providing it, because that would be inconsistent with our international treaties. I would not disagree with his concept if it were in a way that was consistent with our international treaties. (Extension of time granted.)

I have a personal interest in seeing a positive outcome in terms of a heroin trial. In fact, there is another self-interest here. Because I am not running for election, I could put more effort than almost anybody else could into a campaign on this. I think that would help give us a positive outcome. I can tell you now how we would run the campaign. We would run the campaign on the slogan "stop the burglaries". That is not the only issue. It is much more complex than that.

We would look at a campaign-and I am sure I would sit down with colleagues in the Labor Party and the Liberal Party who want to do this-and we would say, "What is the best way to run this campaign to win?" That is what a referendum is about. We already have the health lobby on side. They know what we are talking about. That is not who you are trying to win over. You are trying to win the middle ground. How are you going to win the middle ground? Stop the burglaries; stop the breaking into cars. By and large, that is what the referendum would be about.

The other side would run the same statement as the Prime Minister made: "Don't send the wrong message." That is by and large what it would come down to. That is such an oversimplification of what we need to discuss and what we need to debate on this issue that it is not acceptable to me. So I shall be voting against this legislation.

MR HIRD (12.15): Mr Speaker, this is not just a problem within the ACT or indeed in Australia. It is a problem right round the world. There need to be innovations. There needs to be involvement of not only the addicts but the families. Families need to be brought into the equation. There needs to be some change of attitude by governments. To move this forward, a parliament should be listening to its constituents.

There are many ways of achieving that. A commendable way is by referendum. We had a national referendum about whether we should remove the current arrangements in Australia to do with the monarchy. The people spoke.


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