Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3439 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I believe that the Territory is very fortunate in the professional level of members of its police and emergency services, as evidenced by the multi-agency task force that supported the New South Wales response to the Thredbo landslide emergency. As I envisaged in my presentation speech to the Assembly in relation to the exposure draft, the Emergency Management Bill will formalise existing arrangements, but also provide for a higher level of preparedness and response coordination in the event of an emergency. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hargreaves) adjourned.
MR MOORE (Minister for Health and Community Care) (11.26): Mr Speaker, I present the Drugs of Dependence (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR MOORE: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, before I make the formal presentation speech on this piece of legislation, I would like to make some informal comments. Since the beginning of time, elders have gathered around their campfires and in their log cabins and their lodges. More recently, elders of tribes have gathered in their parliaments. Since time immemorial, elders have been faced with the sort of challenge that faces this Assembly. Imagine tribesmen sitting around their fire, saying, "Our young people are dying, disease is spreading. Will we stick with the old ways, the ways which protected our tribe, or will we risk the ire of some of our people so that we can protect our young people?".
This is probably the sort of thing that has led in the past to certain decisions, for example, the decision to prohibit certain types of food in some societies, and it is the sort of question that led to widespread vaccination. It is the challenge which will face our Assembly in February; but for the moment, through the Bill that has just been tabled, and the motion for debate this afternoon on safe injecting places, we will have the opportunity to open the debate and to consult with the community. Today should be about raising these issues rather than debating them. It is the debate that we ought to have in February when we have looked at those issues and we have looked at the method proposed by the Government.
However, we should do that in light of the knowledge that this year more of our young people have died from overdoses than have died on our roads, and in the knowledge that the spread of hepatitis C is increasing, with over 300 notifications this year alone. I know that most, if not all, members here have significant concerns over this proposal, and over the next few months I hope to be able to address many of those concerns, as many as possible. Mr Speaker, I now move to the formal part of my presentation speech.