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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 4946 ..


usage and availability, we understand that what we are trying to do is to keep them from harm.

Particularly in an environment where there is enormous temptation and pressure to take drugs, is legalising this, making it more freely available, going to have a positive or a negative effect? My view is that it is not going to have a positive effect. But I do want to listen; I do want to hear. I want to hear what the views are. I want to understand what the AMA’s more detailed and nuanced position is. And I see that there is nothing lost in our gaining a better understanding of this issue. There is nothing in terms of timeliness that requires us to smash it through with any degree of urgency.

I do not really want to get into the debate on this issue, but I will just make the point that, while there is harm caused by other substances—cigarettes, prescribed drugs, alcohol—simply saying, “You’ve got a whole bunch of legal products here that cause harm; therefore let’s legalise cannabis,” is a very counterintuitive argument, in my view. If such major harm is being caused by codeine and other legally available products, if a lot of harm is done by cigarettes and alcohol, which are legal products, why on earth would you say, “Let’s make marijuana legal”? If the argument is that the others cause more harm and this illegal product is actually causing less harm, why go down a path of legalisation? I would want to understand the answer to that and put that proposition forward as well.

Government members interjecting—

There is interjection across the table, but these are the issues that could be teased out in committee. It is a debate that we engage in generally, and Mr Pettersson and I have had a number of conversations about this. We will engage on the facts of the issue, the merits of the case. We have our position, but I personally and my team, I am sure, and members of the community feel that this is an area of debate where it would be useful to gain a greater understanding. It seems that what we have here is a situation where we have an ideological viewpoint from the Greens, one being pushed by the Labor Party, and they are not listening anymore. They have stopped listening. They have already made their decision. This is what they are going to do: “Stuff the AMA; stuff the medical advice. We’re going to do this anyway.” That is a very interesting position. I look forward to their trying to backflip on this argument when they get to talking about pill testing in this place.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (11.46): Let us call this out for what it is. This is a stalling tactic from the hard right of the Canberra Liberals. They hate progress. They do everything they can to stop, to slow down, to stall any progress in this chamber. This is what this is. This is an attempt to stall this private member’s bill because they do not want to see it passed. They have come out and announced that they are opposed to this legislation, and that is fine. They are allowed to have that view. But what they are trying to do is stop this chamber discussing and debating this private member’s bill.

Canberrans want to see this legislation enacted. There is overwhelming support for legalisation. Those in the Canberra Liberals should really take a moment to stop and


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