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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3058..


MR HARGREAVES (continuing):

where they give an exemption under the act. I am absolutely certain that people have not complied with the act, due to omission rather than anything else. So I would strongly urge each minister, and, hopefully, the Chief Minister, to instruct the departments to comply with this legislation so that we do not have any nonsense in the future.

I commend the report to the Assembly.

Referendum Bill 2001

Debate resumed.

MR CORBELL (3.54): This is a very significant debate, where people are presenting strongly felt views from both sides of the debate. Mr Stanhope made clear in his speech earlier today the Labor Party's view on the appropriateness of using a referendum in relation to the questions the government has proposed in the bill today. To my mind, it is a complete abrogation of the government's responsibility to provide leadership on the question of drug use and drug abuse in our society that they have chosen not to set a clear agenda for reform, which people in Canberra are looking for. In marked contrast to the government's approach, I and the other Labor members are able to present to the Canberra community a very clear and detailed policy on legal and illegal drugs.

The Australian Labor Party has worked through these issues; the Australian Labor Party has had the discussion amongst its membership. Unlike the Chief Minister, who seems completely unable to manage that discussion within his own party and therefore resorts to a referendum as a way out, the Australian Labor Party has conducted those hard debates. In fact, months and months of discussion amongst a broad range of members in our party have brought forward an unambiguous policy statement on legal and illegal drugs. As Mr Moore points out, we were not so closed on this issue that we were not prepared to hear from our political opponents. Indeed, a forum organised by the Labor Party invited Mr Moore to come and speak to it.

The Labor Party has been genuinely engaged in this issue, and the Labor Party has a strong platform position, which I am very pleased to reiterate today. The Labor Party has set out what its objectives are in relation to legal and illegal drugs, and we have set out our aims. Our aims are to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs, to reduce the use of illicit drugs in the ACT, to reduce the supply and trafficking of illicit drugs in the ACT, to develop evidence-based strategies for addressing the misuse of alcohol and other drugs, to ensure the provision of quality services to address the drug problem and to implement appropriate legislative changes to enable the provision of the broadest possible range of evidence-based treatment options.

Those are the six strategies that outline the principles and objectives that will guide a Labor government. And it is not as though they have been worked out at the last moment. These strategies have been on the books and have been approved by the rank-and-file vote of ALP members in this place and the rank-and-file members of the party.

That is more than Mr Humphries can say. It strikes me as an enormous irony that the Liberal Party suggests again and again that the Labor Party has no policy when I would challenge them to provide anywhere near as detailed a policy document as the ACT ALP branch platform and rules, which is updated yearly and available publicly-something


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