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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3022 ..

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (11.59): I very firmly believe that should a referendum be conducted during the election the outcome would be positive. I have looked at a range of polling where the questions were asked in such a way as to generate a negative outcome and they got a negative outcome, and I have seen polling where the questions were generated in a more neutral way, as in the bill before us, and the outcome was more positive. Although we might believe it, none of us know that. I image there are many people here who believe the opposite. No matter what the outcome of today's debate may be, it would be very interesting for the Canberra Times, for example, to ask Datacol to do a poll on the very questions that are in the bill today to see what the outcome would be.

If I was going to be persuaded by arguments today as to how I should vote on this issue, Mr Rugendyke would be the single most influential member. There could be nothing more appalling than the case that he put: "We should listen to the people and we should look at the outcome of a plebiscite"-and we are actually talking about a plebiscite-"It does not matter; unless it was totally overwhelming, I would still ignore it. I have my opinion and it is not going to change."

At least all members of the Liberal Party-whether or not they agree, as the Chief Minister does, that we should hold a trial of heroin, which is the most important question before us-have said, "We will be bound by the outcome. We see a higher order issue."

The opposite to that is to say, "Yes, we want to have a referendum, but I am not going to be bound by the outcome, because I am not going to change my mind." If that is the case, why would you want a referendum? To me, it simply defies logic.

Mr Rugendyke also talked about the "failed" harm minimisation policy. I would like to give you one example of why you are wrong on this, Mr Rugendyke, and I hope it makes you rethink that issue. The most significant harm minimisation policy that has been trialled in Australia is the provision of clean needles and syringes to our users. Because of that policy, we can compare the number of paediatric cases-and I know you have a real interest in children-of HIV in Australia to what happens in New York. In New York you are looking at some 40,000 cases. In New South Wales you are looking at fewer than 100. It is not just the users themselves that have benefited from harm minimisation policy. It is the community as a whole.

My final decision has been made this morning. Will a heroin trial be furthered by a yes vote or will it not be furthered by a yes vote on the referendum bill in front of us? I think it will not be furthered by it, and therefore I will not be supporting it. It will not be furthered by it, because even if it were to get up, even if the referendum were to pass, and even if a Liberal government were to be elected, Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke would find a way to ensure that, even if the Liberals all agreed, the matter did not go ahead.

We have seen them exercise that power in the past, not necessarily on this issue but on a range of other issues. They cannot exercise the power by themselves. They are only two votes. As Mr Rugendyke points out correctly, he is only one vote in the Assembly. But there are ways of using their power and getting others on side. We saw it demonstrated with regard to the supervised injecting room. A government bill was

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