Page 1924 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH: No, I am not. I am accusing you of a scare campaign, Mr Hanson. I think that was pretty clear.

Opposition members interjecting—

Dr Paterson: I have a point of order. I cannot hear the minister’s response.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Thank you. I was struggling to hear. I am close to giving someone a warning, members.

Mr Hanson: On the point of order, the minister spent my whole speech interjecting, and no-one complained and no-one raised a point of order at all. So I think it needs to be consistently applied, Mr Assistant Speaker.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: We will do so. We will have time for Ms Stephen-Smith to finish her closing speech. Thank you.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Thank you very much, Mr Assistant Speaker. Just to be clear, Mr Hanson, I was not making any comment about police commissioners, but I will come to that in a minute.

I wish to reply to Mr Davis’s comment. I would strongly encourage Mr Davis to read the government’s response. I assure you, in particular, that the government’s position is that methadone is the only substance that should be removed from the original list that was in the bill, and that is purely because it is already regulated as a pharmaceutical. Otherwise, the list of drugs that the government is proposing to move to regulation remains the same as the list that was originally proposed by Mr Pettersson.

I can also assure Mr Davis that we addressed the issue in relation to the payment of fines and the capacity to do that. As he would be aware, and as Mr Braddock has advocated for, there is no capacity to create payment plans for those kinds of infringement notices at this point in time, but, should that capacity become available, it would be available for these types of fines as well. The alternative to diversion to the Illicit Drug Diversion Program is a short seminar, not mandatory drug treatment. Obviously, we recognise the evidence that drug treatment works best when it is undertaken voluntarily rather than mandated.

I know that Mr Hanson touched on Mr Cain’s dissenting report from the committee, which probably failed to acknowledge the actual evidence from experts and from around the world. I encourage Mr Hanson to read a very recent article from 5 June in the Sydney Morning Herald by Nicole Lee, Adjunct Professor at the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University. It is headlined “Canada’s drug experiment could work here. This is why.” It talks about the Canadian government’s announcement that it will trial decriminalisation of drugs in British Columbia for three years and outlines why that is such a sensible and evidence-based move.

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