Page 1919 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022
criminalisation and the lifelong ramifications of this. I will continue to campaign for proper funding increases that recognise the role of drug user services and treatments in providing support to those who use substances and their families. To do the most good, and to help those who need it most, the reforms must apply equally to all drugs, especially the most stigmatised, like heroin and methamphetamine. Any carve-outs will re-stigmatise these already heavily stigmatised substances and seriously undermine the intent of this policy change.
My final substantive point is about threshold quantities that demarcate between personal possession and trafficable quantities. Trafficable quantities are already defined in the Criminal Code and should not be redefined in the legislation to decriminalise, as Mr Pettersson’s legislation unfortunately accidentally risks doing. The quantities in the Criminal Code regulation were developed from thorough and well-designed research completed by the leading Australian drug researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales. This research was commissioned by the ACT government for the purposes of developing drug laws that reflect the reality of drug use, of cultures and patterns of purchase and the markets that surround it.
You are either possessing for personal use or you are not. We need this legislation to be as straightforward as possible. You should not have to have a law degree to understand the consequences of possession. Subclasses or competing definitions are dangerous and illogical. If we are trying to decriminalise personal possession, let us just do that.
To end, I would like to emphasise that what we do here in the ACT will likely be used as a precedent across the country for progressive drug law reform. This is an opportunity not only to impact vulnerable people within our own city but to once again lead the nation in progressive, evidence-based law reform that prioritises the wellbeing of vulnerable people. We have a responsibility to do this well, as decision-makers and representatives of people in this city, and in order to represent our city as a jurisdiction known for prioritising human rights and social justice to the rest of the country, and indeed to the world.
I will continue to work with the government to achieve the best possible outcomes in this space. I again thank Minister Stephen-Smith for her work, and I look forward to seeing the outcomes of further close stakeholder consultation. The war on drugs, at least in the ACT, is over. Now must be the time for compassion, for evidence and for care.
MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (11.08): Today is an exciting day for drug law reform. I want to make sure that the many members of our community that have advocated for changes to our drug laws know that these changes are because of them. Thank you for your dedication over many, many years. I want to thank my colleagues in this place who worked on the select committee. To work on a select committee is often thankless but it is important work. I particularly want to thank Minister Stephen-Smith. She is a true champion of drug law reform, and this would not be possible without her hard work and her personal support over many years. I also want to thank the many