Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 3441 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
Only a safe injecting place declared by the Minister for Health and Community Care to be a safe injecting place will be entitled to receive immunity against the civil liability set out in the Bill. In order to declare a facility a safe injecting place, the Minister must be satisfied that the facility is a hygienic environment suitable for use as a place which will provide clean injecting equipment to enable a person to self-administer a drug of dependence and to facilitate safe disposal of injecting equipment. Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the house.
MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, I would like to put on record here and now that I oppose this Bill.
Mr Moore: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I believe that the standing orders require the debate to be adjourned.
MR SPEAKER: That is true.
Mr Moore: If you wish, we can adjourn it and then you can seek leave to make a comment, but there is to be a debate this afternoon. This very issue is up for debate this afternoon.
MR KAINE: There might be, but not on this Bill. Mr Speaker, I seek leave to speak to this Bill.
MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, I want to put on record right from the outset that I oppose this Bill, and I do so because the concept of a safe injecting house is a contradiction in terms under the conditions that the Minister has just outlined. He makes the point in his own tabling papers that what will be happening in this place is illegal activity. How, then, can a government, how then can a legislature, enact legislation that somehow gives respectability to illegal activities? It is a contradiction in terms and I do not think that anybody in this place ought to accept the glib proposition put forward by this Minister.
The Minister talks about a safe injecting house. He acknowledges that he will have no control whatsoever over the substances injected in this place. How on earth can he call it a safe injecting place? These people might as well go out, like they do now, and hide behind a hedge and stick the same garbage into themselves, because all they are going to be doing is doing it in premises that the Minister declares to be a safe injecting house.
I notice he makes some reference to the question of protection against civil litigation. What about the criminal? If somebody comes into this place and injects themselves with an unknown substance and dies on the premises, who is responsible? The Minister? He will be scuttling for cover so fast we will not see him for the dust.