Page 3297 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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Opponents of this legislation will make the point, I have no doubt, that illicit drug users will resort to using home-made devices if they cannot source paraphernalia. Similarly, they will argue that the definition of a cocaine kit, for example, which I will come to shortly, includes everyday items that are readily sourced. I make this comment in response, and it is a point that was made by the Hon A Bressington, an independent member of the Legislative Council in the debates that occurred earlier this year in South Australia. We do not have to glamorise or glorify the use of cocaine or any other drug by advertising or promoting their use in public displays and stores. This is what we are currently doing by allowing items associated with the use of these drugs to be displayed in our stores. To do so sends the wrong message to the community. It sends the message that this sort of behaviour and the use of illicit drugs, to again use the minister’s own words, is normal.

Illicit drugs are a scourge on the community, and I do not want this remark to be interpreted that I do not have enormous compassion and sympathy for those afflicted with this condition, as I do with people afflicted with alcoholism and with gambling dependencies. Drug addiction is a complicated issue that cannot be fixed or addressed through one piece of legislation. However, I would be surprised if anybody could debate the need for a coherent strategy to address the serious issues that illicit drug use poses for the Canberra community.

It is my hope, Mr Speaker, that the Assembly will support this bill and make it part of that strategy. I will take some time to go through the elements of my bill. It is not overly complicated or long and is heavily influenced by the legislation that was passed with the support of both Labor and Liberal parties and the independent member I mentioned in the South Australian parliament in April of this year.

The bill makes it an offence to sell or supply drug equipment. Drug equipment is defined in part 6.4A as a cocaine kit, drug pipe or a water pipe. A cocaine kit is defined as two or more of the following: a glass bottle, a mirror, a razor blade, a scoop or a tube when they are packaged together for the purpose, or for the apparent purpose, of using the items to prepare or introduce cocaine into a person’s body.

A drug pipe is a device, or components that together make a device, or with an adjustment or modification make a device, for the purpose or apparent purpose of smoke cannabis, cannabis resin or methamphetamine crystals. This includes two items known commonly as a hash pipe or an ice pipe. Finally, a water pipe is defined as a device for the purpose of drawing smoke fumes through water or another liquid and includes most obviously a bong.

Members will note the inclusion of items like hookahs and other Middle Eastern traditional devices in the definitions of water pipes. I thought hard about whether to include these items, as I understand the South Australian parliament did when debating its legislation. I note and understand that these devices are not traditionally used for the inhalation of illicit substances. To exclude them, however, would have left a loophole in this legislation that would have been exploited and defeated the purpose of this bill. It was, therefore, a matter of necessity to include them in the definition.

The final point that I would make in relation to the actual contents of my bill relates to penalties associated with the new offences. They are, as members will see, strict. The

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