Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2011 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

concerns about equity before the law are, in essence, valid no-one could recall any cases in the ACT or even New South Wales where the preservation of the material would have been an issue. In other words, people argue that the cannabis is or was not theirs, but not that it is or is not cannabis. It seems that the fairly comprehensive sampling process that the Commonwealth analyst conducts, including weighing and measuring, has to date covered any issues of its make-up.

The position put to my staff was that this legislation advantages those people who can afford private legal advice over those who cannot, and those who can react quickly and defensively over those who are more vulnerable, but that in practice it is likely to affect no-one.

I cannot say it is hugely reassuring. Nonetheless, the general opinion that the convenience of prompt disposal of cannabis will save the government analyst the risk of allergic reactions and remove the possibility of the cannabis finding its way back onto the market probably outweighs the notion of fair and equitable access to the justice system, which it is claimed that no-one would need.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has said that he is prepared to monitor implementation of this legislation and, if necessary, revisit this legislation. I would ask the government and the Labor Party to commit to a similar approach, paying particular heed to the equal rights of all people before the law.

We will support Mr Moore's amendments. We might as well have a range of options to deal with drugs of dependence. It is always useful to have a lot of options available.

MRS BURKE (11.22): Many treatment options are available to people with opiate dependence. I am very pleased to support the amendments that will allow buprenorphine as another acceptable treatment. I find this a very positive step forward.

Drug dependence is now accepted by many as a health problem, which I believe is a real breakthrough in society. We must continue positively down this track. My feeling is that we must ensure that we return dignity to those who are being rehabilitated and seeking treatment.

I also support the move to rebadge or rebrand the opioid dependency treatment centre-a very positive step forward. Many drug treatments have a stigma attached. This often causes problems in the community. I believe that this will assist in removing that social stigma.

I fully support these amendments to the 1989 act.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (11.23), in reply: Thank you, members, for your support. Members raised a number of issues worthy of a brief response. I was surprised that nobody drew attention to my introductory speech, in which I pointed out that in 1999 we held 400 kilograms of cannabis. It surprised me that members are comfortable with the fact that I have responsibility for that. As you know, I take that responsibility very seriously, although in past debates there have been those who talked about the wolf in charge of the sheep pen.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .