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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 3269..


MS PORTER (continuing):

and the new green leaves. There is also a plaque under a tree at which those of us who attended were able to place flowers as we made our own personal remembrance.

For decades now, successive governments of all political persuasions have spent millions of dollars seeking to prevent illicit drugs from being brought into the country. We need to look at what we are doing to assist those who have become addicted to these substances. We seem to believe that the answer is to stop their importation and the problem will somehow be magically solved. Such an approach reminds me of an old Chinese proverb: there is a simple answer to every complex problem; the trouble is it is usually wrong.

Such is the case for the so-called war on drugs. It is all too obvious that merely preventing importation will certainly not solve the problem. The financial rewards are simply too great for the drug barons to walk away from such a lucrative market. The mark-ups are so huge that, even if large amounts of contraband can be seized and countless mules arrested, the trade will still continue.

There is no silver bullet to this complex problem. But one thing is certain: if we continue to address this major problem in the way we are currently doing, then more young people and the not-so-young will either needlessly die or could have their future lives ruined because of criminal convictions recorded against them as a consequence of crimes committed to feed their habit.

The safe injecting facility that is now operating in Kings Cross is proving to be a major success, with many lives being saved from what may have been otherwise fatal overdoses. But, more importantly, it reports many more are now seeking the support of services that are available through the centre and are choosing for themselves to seek help for their addiction.

Just because a person who, for whatever reason, becomes addicted to illicit substances, it is no reason to treat the problem as one that should be solved through our legal system. This is a health issue and must, first and foremost, been seen as such. We have an obligation to be visionary and seek new and better ways of reducing the harm and destruction that are being wrought on all those affected, including those who love and care for them.

Unlike many of those who were there on Monday, I have not been touched by the death of a family member as the result of this. However, a member of my extended family continues to deal with major issues as a result of substance abuse. He is fortunate to have the love and support of his family, but it is a constant struggle for all concerned. Friends and family cannot do it alone. Those addicted cannot do it alone.

I ask those in this Assembly to try to imagine how they would feel if a member of their family suffered in this way. I always find the problem takes on a sharper focus if we allow ourselves to be in the midst of it rather than as an observer. I trust that no names will be added to the list next year, but I fear that they will.

Death of Mr Jack Marshall

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.15): I rise to commemorate the passing of Mr Jack Marshall, who was quite a senior figure in the Royal Naval Association. He was


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