Page 3732 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: recently Ms Porter put in an MPI that was considered to be out of order and she was accorded the courtesy of being able to modify it so that it could be included in the ballot. Was the same consideration given to the four MPIs that were ruled out of order in terms of having consistency of approach?

MR SPEAKER: I am trying to recall the Porter matter, but this morning I looked at the motion and as it went to those issues which I referred to in the statement I just made, I considered the most appropriate course was to rule it out of order.

Mr Smyth: Thank you for your explanation, Mr Speaker, but again I raise the point that Ms Porter’s MPI was out of order and she was accorded the courtesy of modifying the words. Was consideration given to allowing the four members who had perhaps made the same mistake as Ms Porter to change their words as well?

MR SPEAKER: No, I dealt with it on its merit, Mr Smyth, as usual.

Criminal Code (Drug Equipment) Amendment Bill 2008

Debate resumed from 20 August 2008, on motion by Mr Mulcahy:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.53): The Criminal Code (Drug Equipment) Amendment Bill seeks to amend the ACT Criminal Code to make it an offence for a person to sell or supply drug equipment. The use of illicit drugs in the community and the harms inflicted on users, their families and the broader community are a major concern for the government. To date our response has been to invest in evidence-based measures to educate the community about how to prevent and reduce the harms caused by illicit drugs and to support those experiencing drug problems by providing rehabilitation and support services. The government has also introduced laws that create severe penalties for people convicted of trafficking drugs and supplying measurable quantities of them.

Mr Speaker, in the absence of any evidence related to the usefulness of these measures that have been proposed by Mr Mulcahy, the government does not believe that it can support those elements of the bill. I am aware, however, that some Australian jurisdictions have already moved to criminalise the sale of many of the items identified in Mr Mulcahy’s bill. I am of the view that a decision to adopt complete prohibition on the sale of the range of items identified in Mr Mulcahy’s bill is a premature step as we are yet to see the evidence in support of these measures.

However, I am aware that there is a range of issues also at play in terms of the display of these types of drug paraphernalia and whether, indeed, they should be displayed as part of making them available for sale in the community. I think it is the case that there is the potential for an amendment to this bill that would provide for a prohibition on the display of these items but not on their sale.

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