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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1920 ..

MS DUNDAS (continuing):

issue of drink spiking. Whilst drink spiking is a serious issue and one of much concern, I believe that we must also focus on the first drug of choice for young people, alcohol.

MR STEFANIAK (11.51): The opposition will be supporting Ms Gallagher's motion. Drink spiking is something that occurs much more than people think, as Ms Gallagher and Ms Dundas have indicated. It is truly reprehensible when the intent of the spiker is to get someone so paralytic that the spiker can assault them, rob them, rape them or commit some other indiscriminate criminal act. Obviously, a number of measures need to be taken there, ranging from criminal prosecution and the courts dealing with such offences severely, through to taking whatever precautions can be put in place in licensed establishments to assist in preventing drink spiking. Education is a very important issue in this regard, and I will come to that in a minute.

Ms Gallagher notes in her motion that the alarming problem of drink spiking is a threat to the personal safety of young Canberrans. It is a problem particularly for women, but men suffer from it as well. I recall seeing in newspapers and hearing in courts over the years about drinks being spiked, leading to theft, assault and, on occasions, rape. I have been quite disturbed by the increase in drink spiking in more recent times.

It is appropriate to congratulate the Australian Federal Police on the work they do in Canberra. They lead the nation in dealing with this problem. The members of the AFP are part of a very proactive police force. They operate in a compact jurisdiction, but they certainly tend to get out and about. They know the various establishments that are trouble spots and know the people who work in those establishments and they are ideally placed to do what they can to deter, to prevent and, when all else fails, to apprehend wrongdoers in relation to this offence. That is terribly important in terms of dealing with people who maliciously set about spiking drinks. That type of activity probably will never go away; but, if we coordinate government services and ensure that there are appropriate sanctions against it, we will be going some way towards overcoming the problem.

Another problem that occurs-I am not necessarily saying that it is a bigger problem, but it can unwittingly lead to theft, assaults and possibly rape-is what happens when so-called mates think it is a bit of a lark to spike a schooner of beer of one of them with vodka or something similar. That has been going on in Australia since the introduction of alcohol and some people who are out for a good time think it is a big joke to do so, but it can lead to lots of unintended consequences. People might think that it is funny to watch someone get quite drunk a lot quicker than anyone else there, but that can lead to very serious problems arising. For example, if the so-called mates get separated during the evening, the person who is paralytic and unable to look after himself or herself could be open to assault or robbery by a third party.

Education is a very important issue there. I am glad that it has been touched on in this motion. I am not quite sure how one would go about it, but the fact that we have had some very nasty incidents as a result of deliberate drink spiking might lead us to look at finding a way of tapping into some sort of campaign by the liquor industry about stopping the type of drink spiking which is done by mates just for the sake of a joke and somehow bring home the message to people who patronise licensed premises that that is a pretty stupid thing to do. I know that Mrs Dunne has some interesting information for us about drink spiking from one of her children who works in the liquor industry.

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