Page 3494 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 October 2022

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To underline and reiterate my earlier point, I implore Canberrans to try, as much as they are able, to engage with compassion, with empathy and with reason regarding the same evidence that I have seen. In the space of two years, I am proud to be a politician and say that I have done a 180. You are not supposed to say that, but I have, and I am proud of that. I think there are a lot of Canberrans who can do a 180, too, if they ignore the spin and ignore the fear.

As a rule, Madam Speaker, if a flyer falls into your mailbox and the person pictured is in a grainy black-and-white greyscale, you can pretty much ignore it. Change is not easy. Change comes slowly. Often, unfortunately, the pace of change is a lot slower than the lives of people that we have lost. And that is a real shame. But I hope that the pace—

Mr Hanson interjecting

MR DAVIS: Mr Hanson, give it a break. Cool your jets.


MR DAVIS: I appreciate that this is all—

Mr Hanson: Madam Speaker, I believe that, under standing order 42, the member is required to address his comments through you.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, I would sit down, if I were you, please, and stop interjecting. Allow Mr Davis to finish his speech.

MR DAVIS: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am trying to appeal to Mr Hanson’s better sensibilities here. Mr Hanson—more than most members of the opposition—and I probably find it a bit of sport to come in here and disagree with each other. But this is not a joke to me. It is not a joke to the people we have lost and it is not a joke to the family and friends of the people that we have lost.

I hope that this small step from this legislature demonstrates to the rest of our community, and hopefully the rest of the country—indeed may it radiate throughout the world!—that, slowly but surely, progressive legislators in progressive jurisdictions across the world are slowly chipping away at the consequences of the Nixon war on drugs, and we are finally going to embrace compassion, evidence and reason.

I will close on this point, Madam Speaker. Mr Hanson said, on behalf of the Canberra Liberals, in his remarks, “All we’ve advocated for is the laws that we have.” People continue to suffer under the laws that we have. People have died under the laws that we have. Drug use continues under the laws that we have. Drug use has not reduced under the laws that we have. Under those circumstances, how can you look at that body of evidence and advocate for the status quo? It is dumbfounding.

I am excited that, from today, the ACT will do something different, motivated by a shared interest in reducing harm and protecting our people.

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