Page 3493 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 October 2022

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

and people of all ages, who still continue to suffer. I am proud to say that, should I not be re-elected in the 2024 poll—

Mr Hanson: Hear, hear!

MR DAVIS: Mr Hanson, you are a piece of work—Madam Speaker, I can at least go on and say that my service in this legislature has had a profound impact on me and has reformed my view in this incredible area of public policy in a short period of time. I make that plea to Canberrans, over the course of the next two years—given that the alternative government has, so far, one policy, and that is to undo the reform we have just done today—to engage as much as they can with the evidence that I have sought to engage with in the last two years. Speak to the people that I have spoken to. Read what I have read. Talk to the people that I have spoken to. And be open to changing your mind. That is not something that is often rewarded in politics. In fact, to the contrary; you are usually called all sorts of things.

I am proud to have changed where I stand on this based on the evidence, and I am proud of what this Assembly is doing today. I am proud of Mr Pettersson for having tabled the bill. I am proud of Dr Paterson and Mr Cain for working with me on the select committee. I am proud of Minister Stephen-Smith for leading the work through government. I am proud of all 16 members of the two governing parties who are prepared to back in this reform.

A lot has been said in this debate about people who use drugs. I think that is incredibly unbecoming of the people that have chosen to further demonise and stigmatise people in our community who are suffering. I hope what we have been able to do today demonstrates to those people that the majority of this Assembly want to help them and want to ensure that they have access to health care, not a prison sentence. I hope that their family and friends who love them, who have suffered through their drug addiction, see what we have been able to do today. And I trust Canberrans to see past the cynical, politically motivated attempts by many in our community—often the loudest voices—to try and undermine this incredible reform.

I stand on the shoulders of giants—people in my political party who, for many years, have advocated for drug law reform well before it was popular, well before it was even cool with some people. I have received, as I am sure other members have, probably my most challenging correspondence on this issue. There are people who have been inflamed by some of the rhetoric in the community.

Some of the things I have been called, and some of the things I have been accused of, by advocating for this reform means that it risks being a really dangerous argument. I am quite scared, genuinely, that the Canberra Liberals have spent two years in this place with no policies, and today they have one. Until they have a second, this will be all that we hear—the further demonisation and stigmatisation of people who are suffering from drug addiction. I am very nervous about what it means for those people in the lead-up to the 2024 poll.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video