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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . .

Page.. 1878..

The amendments in this bill advance straightforward and pragmatic improvements to residential tenancy law in the ACT. The changes advance the effective operation of the act and carefully guarantee a fair balance between tenants' rights and the interests of lessors. As a result, these reforms will accommodate fair and supportive living arrangements in the territory and build on our city's reputation as one of the most livable in the world. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Coe) adjourned to the next sitting.


Motion (by Mr Gentleman) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Brian McConnell

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.43): I rise tonight with the sad news that Brian McConnell has passed away after his battle with mesothelioma. Members will know Brian from his work with the Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform, an organisation which he started with his wife, Marion, among others, after the loss of their son in 1992 to a drug overdose at the tender age of 24.

Brian and Marion responded to this tragedy with compassion and purpose. They came to understand that it is often the illegality of a drug that causes the greatest harm to users rather than the drug itself. The very first meeting of Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform was held here in the ACT Legislative Assembly in 1995, when the heroin toll hit its peak of 582 deaths in a single year. Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform brought together a group of people who had more reason than most to demonise the role of drugs in our society, but instead became a model of social understanding and dialogue in our community.

Brian McConnell spent much of the next 20 years fighting for a fairer and more humane approach to dealing with drug dependency. He identified a great injustice in existing drug laws, and he set out to correct that injustice. Brian's work included tireless advocacy for the kind of legislative change and policy development that might help to prevent other families from experiencing a similar tragedy to his son's own. As a driving force behind Families and Friends, Brian and Marion have organised monthly meetings for bereaved families to share their stories and help heal their pain. They have distributed newsletters and submissions to better inform the community, and they have helped to host the remembrance ceremony, an annual event to remember those who lost their lives to illicit drugs, an event attended by all sides of politics.

Speaking at the seventh International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm, Brian said:

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