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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3748..


MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I welcome members of the Namadji Cub Pack from the Lanyon Valley Scout Group.

Criminal Code (Serious Drug Offences) Amendment Bill 2004

[Cognate bill:

Drugs of Dependence Amendment Bill 2003]

Debate resumed.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: I remind members that in debating order of the day No 2, executive business, they may also address their remarks to order of the day No 13, private members business.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (5.25), in reply: Mr Deputy Speaker, I acknowledge the contribution of other members of the Assembly to this very important debate in relation to the Criminal Code (Serious Drug Offences) Amendment Bill 2004, a debate, as you acknowledge, Mr Deputy Speaker, is being held cognately with proposed amendments to the Drugs of Dependence Amendment Bill. Mr Deputy Speaker, I've made it very clear at every stage of the process of this particular piece of legislation that this bill is about establishing a nationally uniform system for addressing the actions and activities of organised crime across Australia, including within the ACT.

There was much debate this morning-and I'll respond to that-particularly from the crossbench in relation to harm minimisation and their perceptional feeling that this particular bill and these particular proposals are in some way a derogation of or a walking away by this government without commitment to harm minimisation. There is nothing further from the truth than that, Mr Deputy Speaker. This legislation is aimed almost wholly and solely at organised crime; that's what it's about; it's about ensuring that our law enforcement agencies, we as a community and our criminal justice officers and officials have the capacity to deal effectively with organised crime.

The issue is around the extent to which any legal package that deals with organised crime, that deals with the hard end of organised crime and criminal activity in relation to drugs, does of course require us, in our responses, to provide a range of offences which certainly can and always will pick up the activities and behaviour of people who might be addicted to illicit substances and who are involved in the trade of illicit substances as a direct response to their need to fund that source of supply of the illicit substance to which they're addicted.

The serious drug offences report prepared by the Criminal Code Officers Committee of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, which we're implementing today, goes into real detail in explaining and dealing with the need for balance and dichotomy in relation to creating a legislative system or response which deals with the need and the capacity to confront organised crime and those who engage in the drug trade simply for profit and don't care how they do it.

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