Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 20 October 2022) . . Page.. 3414 ..
have done with the Health Directorate and, of course, all of the stakeholders that have been involved in this consultation.
I thank Mr Pettersson for his really detailed work on this bill. I hope that he will contribute to the conversations about the amendments that are proposed by all parties and that, at the end of the day, we will end up with a really important reform. But as Mr Pettersson has pointed out, this is really an incremental change in our approach to decriminalising the possession of small amounts of drugs.
I also want to thank my office for the incredible and hard work that they have done on this—particularly Ben Tomlinson, who has done an incredible amount of work with the Health Directorate, with Mr Pettersson and his office, and with Mr Davis and his office, working through all of the detail of this bill and preparing me, as best he could, for this debate. Any errors are mine, and mine alone. Thank you. I am looking forward to the debate on the amendments.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.35): To outline, there are a lot of warring amendments that are going to be tabled today. There are Labor Party amendments, Greens amendments, and then Greens amendments to the Labor amendments. In the main I think that most of the amendments make a bad bill worse. Certainly with respect to the Greens’ amendments I think even the Labor Party struggles with them. I said in the in-principal debate that the levels of drugs that the Greens think should be permissible under their amendments would render it unworkable even for the Labor Party.
In terms of the government amendments, we will be opposing those as well. There is one that is calling for a review, which I am ambivalent about. There is another amendment about deferring the date. I think the date is wrong, but delaying the implementation of this on the streets is a good thing; it is just not going far enough.
I will not—unless you want me to, Madam Speaker, or colleagues across the chamber want me to—call a division on everything, but I want to make it very clear that we did not support these in principle. We are not supporting these amendments and we will not be supporting the bill as amended. I will speak to various aspects, but I do not think I need to belabour the point. As I have foreshadowed, I will be moving amendments.
I wish to refer to some of the debate that has occurred, which I think is reasonably disingenuous. That is about what has happened previously in debates in this place. Let me assure you, there is no Liberal in this place who supports decriminalising heroine and meth. There has been no proper conversation about that, but we engaged in a pretty reasonable way at the end of the last Assembly. There has been a disingenuous characterisation of what I said at the time in that debate. I made it very clear that the Canberra Liberals would never support the decriminalisation of drugs like meth and heroin.
There is a lot of talk about the evidence—and I heard it from Dr Paterson—about various aspects of the experts. What we are seeing here is a cherry-picking of what people have said. I notice that Mr Pettersson is very keen to talk about what an ex