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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 10 Hansard (24 November) . . Page.. 2822 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

me last Sunday when I attended the first International Conference on Drugs and Young People in Melbourne to listen to a police officer from Victoria interpreting harm minimisation from the law enforcement perspective and how Victorian police had managed that. It gave me hope, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, that we would be able to move on in a cooperative way. There will always be a role, an important role, for law enforcement in trafficking, no matter what the system might be. Even the people I have heard who have been advocates of a completely regulated system, some of whom I agree with, would still insist that we have to have an appropriate role for law enforcement.

A good comparison is alcohol. If somebody tried to bring a shipload of alcohol into Australia we would expect our customs and law enforcement officers to carry out a raid and make an arrest, or make sure that that alcohol was taxed. The alcohol may be impure and could damage large numbers of people. It seems to me that there will always be an important law enforcement role. It will be interesting for us to look at how our law enforcement officers handle harm minimisation within the ACT. The Australian Federal Police in the ACT already have an officer whose job is to work with community groups and others to understand harm minimisation and to help the police understand it. I think that is an important part of what we need to achieve.

It is also important, as Mr Stanhope said, to bring people with us in the way we are dealing with this. Bringing people with us is all about taking a step out front and then taking time for people to understand what the thinking is and where we are going. I think all members here would recognise the difference in thinking in the ACT community over the last 10 years, and, in fact, our own thinking.

Somebody said to me recently what a turnaround it was by a Federal member who had just said, "Well, I think it's time I changed". An even better example occurred in Adelaide a couple of weeks ago when a Labor member, I think it was, who had crossed the floor to vote against the cannabis legislation, the expiation notice legislation, when it was introduced in the late 1980s, signed the charter for drug law reform of the Australian Parliamentary Group for Drug Law Reform and said, "Well, I have to say that I have changed my mind". I changed my mind since the time that he crossed the floor. When he crossed the floor I had exactly the same attitude as he did. It is really a matter of looking at the evidence and being presented with the evidence on how we are going to deal with this.

Mr Wood also raised the issue of the heroin trial and said that, in retrospect, perhaps part of the problem with the heroin trial was that we did not present it in the context of the range of issues that we should have been dealing with; that it was just one end of the spectrum. That is probably correct. I have to say to Mr Wood that we put in a huge amount of effort to try to present it in that way, but I agree with him. We failed. We tried to do it but, of course, the media will take up the interesting thing that is at the hard end and work with that.

It is interesting that the alternative presented at the time was naltrexone. The tabloids to which Mr Wood referred at the time were saying, "Look, you don't need to give heroin treatment. All you need is naltrexone". They gave example after example of somebody who walked in and 24 hours later they were off the drugs and there was no problem anymore. We are about to start a trial on naltrexone in the ACT within the next

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