Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 September 2019) . . Page.. 3877 ..
broader community, and for his willingness to champion an issue that many have not been willing to progress.
I wish to place on record my thanks to cabinet colleagues for their detailed consideration of each of the government amendments and the Greens amendments throughout this process. I again thank the committee for their work. I thank Mr Rattenbury and Ms Le Couteur in their roles as crossbench members for their contributions to this debate. I thank Mr Hanson and his office for their engagement on the issues. We do not necessarily agree on the matters of principle but we have been able to conduct this debate today in a way that I think does credit to the ACT Legislative Assembly. I commend Mr Hanson and his team for that frank engagement.
We will, of course, disagree on the outcomes and I am sure you will not be voting for the bill as amended, but I do thank you for that engagement through this process. When we do, perhaps rightly, hear criticism of other Australian parliaments for not taking on issues like this—we also at times hear criticism of this place for being too ambitious in our reform agenda—I think any assessment of the way this process has been handled and the quality of this debate provides a very positive reflection on the ACT Legislative Assembly. I thank members for their collective contribution to making this possible.
In closing, I also thank my office and officials right across the ACT public service for their hard work and detailed involvement in getting to this stage today. I commend the amended bill to the Assembly.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.04): I join with the Chief Minister in thanking all of those people who have been involved. We have agreed on a number of things today; we have disagreed on a number of things today. But we have been quite informed about the debate, in particular through the work done by the committee. I certainly commend the committee and those who submitted to that inquiry and presented to the committee members.
I think that through the process of the amendments today we have certainly improved the legislation that was presented. I have been critical of that. However, I am aware that sometimes it is difficult as a backbench member. I hope that the flaws in the legislation were not deliberately there to create grow houses, for example, but were simply omissions. We have rectified a number of those. I thank the Chief Minister for having done that.
Regardless, I am not happy with where we have ended up. I think that we end up with a situation where the government is signalling and in effect supporting and condoning increased consumption and use of cannabis. My concern with that is not some wowser concern. It really is not. My concern is the evidence that we have received about the links between increased cannabis consumption and mental illness. That is our concern on this side of the chamber. This is not ideological. This is not wowserism. That is a legitimate concern.