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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 3234 ..

MR KAINE (10.47): I do not intend to speak at length on this subject, but I do wish to sound some warning about this document. I agree with Mr Hird, to a point. It is the first document that I have seen that covers comprehensively the range of problems associated with drug use in all its forms, and it does propose some useful courses of action to combat the problem of drugs in different ways; but I am not certain that it goes far enough in some areas, and in others it is a little deceptive. I would prefer to see some harsher words in parts of the report. For example, I was disturbed to see on page 34, under the heading "Illicit Drugs - Cannabis", that, instead of starting off with some fairly hard statement like "Cannabis is a dangerous drug and has harmful effects", it begins by saying:

Small amounts of Cannabis can produce a feeling of well-being and a tendency to talk and laugh more than usual.

That is hardly an appropriate introductory paragraph to a document that purports to be doing something to reduce and prevent the use of cannabis. So I think the wording in parts leaves a lot to be desired, and I think there are some deficiencies and some gaps in the program.

I think the difficulty that I mostly have with the report, however, is that it tends to be deceptive, and I do not know whether that is deliberate or not. On page 27, under the headings "Harm Reduction" and "Activity", it includes a reference to:

...ongoing consideration of a proposal to establish a safe injecting place, subject to Legislative Assembly approval;...

Well, ongoing consideration of the matter is a long way removed from what the Minister has said recently - that before this year is out there will be one. If it is the Government's intention to seek to have such a facility in place, essentially within three weeks from now, or within three months of the publication of this document, why does it not say that? Why does it try to obscure that and soften it by referring to "ongoing consideration of a proposal"? I think it could have been more honest. Of course, it does include "ongoing consideration of the feasibility of conducting a heroin trial", although I believe the Government's intent is more than that.

I do not believe that this document is entirely honest in expressing the Government's intentions. If the Government was as honest as it should be I think there would be more people out there saying, "Hang on a bit; we don't think that this is necessarily a good strategy". In fact, I was very tempted, Mr Speaker, in commenting on this report this morning, to move an amendment that says that the document be rejected rather than noted, principally because of this deception.

I said that the document does not go far enough in some quarters. On the same page, page 27, where it summarises activity under "Harm reduction" in connection with addressing drink/drug driving, I do not see too much reference in there to drug driving. There are a lot of references to drink driving, such as zero blood alcohol content for L and P drivers, maintenance and publicising of drink driving campaigns and random breath testing, but where is the activity related to detecting and preventing or at least reducing the incidence of driving under the influence of drugs? There is no program

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