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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 August 2008) . . Page.. 3299 ..

fix that anomaly that currently sees our children receiving appropriate instruction in the dangers of illicit substances like marijuana, cocaine and ice, yet at the same time being exposed to the prominent display of bongs and other items connected to drugs.

Clearly we are sending mixed messages while we allow this situation to continue. As I said a few moments ago, I have a deep and abiding sense of compassion for those afflicted with drug addiction. It is a terrible scourge. If you go to a funeral, as I did a while back, of the son of a friend of mine who tried desperately to keep his children away from illicit substances but who became a victim from a heroin overdose, it is an awful thing. It is an awful thing to see the loss of a young life, but to turn around and express compassion and concern and say, “Yes, the substances will be illegal, but it is fine to put them out in the front windows of shops here on London Circuit,” to me smacks of absolute hypocrisy.

We have to be serious in our messages, we have to be consistent with our messages. If you send messages to children that are not consistent then we are sending them confused signals and it will send the message that it is okay to experiment with these substances. I am under no illusion. My friend told me of the situation. I was flabbergasted to know the marketing skills and distribution arrangements that are available to young people who are wanting to embark on the use of illicit substances.

I understand the magnitude of this issue. The scope of the problem is not easily fixed. This one bill will not solve all the problems. We need the rehabilitation programs; we need the education of our young people; we need family units that will in fact set the example to children that these substances are not okay to take and that they will have devastating impacts.

We have seen reductions in illicit substance use, particularly in the northern hemisphere. I think in Iceland or Finland recently they have had improvements and reductions in experimentation with illicit drugs. We have to absorb all the ideas we possibly can to achieve these outcomes and to work on this menace that is damaging many of our young people, breaking up families and contributing, from what police have told me, to about 80 per cent of the crime in our community.

This is one step forward. I urge members to give serious regard to this legislation. A similar bill, as I have discussed, was passed with the support of both major parties in South Australia. I hope, Mr Speaker, that my bill receives the same support.

Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell) adjourned to the next sitting.

Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) Bill 2008

Mr Stefaniak, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (10:47): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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