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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3027 ..

MR HIRD (continuing):

make decisions, but complex issues such as the heroin trial and others should be put to the people, in my opinion.

As I indicated earlier, major crimes not only in the ACT but throughout Australia result from the need of addicts to feed their habit. A report released this month by the Australian peak law enforcement body, the National Crime Authority, recognised the importance of addressing these issues. It stated:

We must respond to the ongoing progression of these problems. Among many issues worthy of consideration is to control the market for addicts by treating the supply of addictive drugs to them as medical, and treatment matters subject to supervision of treating doctors and supplied from a repository that is government controlled.

That is their view. It is not a view that everyone will agree with. Indeed, the Prime Minister made a strong statement in respect of that. But it shows you that this is a matter that organisations are trying to come to grips with. The proper way to resolve these questions is to ask the community. Ask the residents. As I said earlier, what are we afraid of?

On this side of the house we have a conscience vote. I was interested in what Mr Kaine had to say. Mr Kaine was elected to this place as a Liberal in 1998. For reasons best known to him, he crossed the floor to represent the United Canberra Party. That is his business. But the fact is that when he was elected here he was elected on a policy to allow people in the community to have their say not only through their elected representatives but by other means, namely, a referendum.

The two questions in this referendum are very clear. I would urge all members to strongly support this bill. I would also urge whoever is in government after 20 October to implement the community's wishes, whether they accord with what I believe or are contrary to what I believe, in respect of the two matters that are on the table in this bill. I would also urge members to allow our community a say in this very difficult issue affecting not only our community but communities throughout Australia and the world. As a small parliament, we can show some leadership to other jurisdictions, not only within Australia but around the world. I support this bill.

Sitting suspended from 12.27 to 2.30 pm.


MR SPEAKER: Before I call for questions without notice, I would like to recognise the presence in the gallery of students from Canberra High School. Welcome to your Assembly.

Ministerial arrangements

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, in the absence of Mr Smyth, I will be fielding questions on his behalf.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you.

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