Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1922 ..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
celebrate somebody's 18th birthday. They were all excited. When you are young, going to a bar to do these things and being treated like an adult is an important rite of passage. At one stage she noticed that a great swag of them had gone to another table and left their drinks behind. She went and talked to them about how it was a dangerous practice to do that and how they should always keep their drinks with them. It was a revelation to them. They had never heard of drink spiking. They had never come across the idea and it was quite novel to them. They were quite horrified that they had put themselves at risk in this way. They were quite grateful for the advice that they received. I hope that they will take note of it for the rest of their lives. But that is something that happens often.
I do know that the registrar of liquor licensing conducts seminars on the responsible consumption of alcohol for people in schools and I would encourage schools to take up the offer. All people who are involved in the raising of children should be open about the effects of alcohol. We should talk to our children about the responsible consumption of alcohol and we should encourage them to accept that responsibility. One of the things that we should talk to them about, in addition to all the health issues and those sorts of things, is the danger that they put themselves into when they go to nightclubs and places like that. Not everyone that they meet there can be relied upon to act in good faith and they need to be cautious.
I endorse Ms Gallagher's motion, I look forward to developments on the therapeutic goods side and I would encourage health departments, police and such areas to expand the coverage of the seminars on the responsible consumption of alcohol that the registrar offers.
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (12.02): I congratulate Ms Gallagher on bringing forward this motion. The matter certainly is of concern to my office and to the police. I have had discussions on it directly with the Chief Police Officer, John Murray, particularly about the education phase, over a protracted period. It is an issue that will benefit from maximum exposure. In today's discussion, Ms Gallagher has advised the house of an operation in which the police have been involved, Operation Skeet. That operation goes wider than drink spiking; it goes to the so-called designer drugs that are available within nightclubs-ecstasy, the amphetamines, cannabis and even cocaine. At the same time, Operation Skeet has incorporated the problem of drink spiking.
The police have worked with relevant agencies on the problem. They even went to the stage of raiding one nightclub, sending a clear message to the industry. Beyond that point, they have met with the industry. In fact, before that raid took place, the police issued press statements and called a media conference-they could not have done more to let the world at large know that they were taking the problem seriously-and then in the wee small hours they hit a particular club, confiscated quite a quantity of drugs and let the message out amongst the industry that there would be action if some of the nightspots did not clean up their act. I think that message is still out there.
Operation Skeet has got to the educative phase, which includes a media strategy and the involvement of quite a number of groups-the sexual assault and child abuse teams, ACT Health, the education department and the ACT Hotels Association. I am very