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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 27 August 2008) . . Page.. 3742 ..

MR SMYTH: The speech that you gave today should make you ashamed of yourself as a health minister.

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! This is not a place for conversation; this is a place for debate. Members, Mrs Dunne has the floor.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.28): I thank Mr Mulcahy for bringing forward this issue. I am happy to support this piece of legislation because I think that it goes to the heart of the way the law should be run. What Mr Mulcahy’s bill does is seek to outlaw the sale of paraphernalia that is used to help people consume illegal substances. I am sure that if Mr Mulcahy or any member came in here today with a bill to outlaw the sale of cigarette holders, Ms Gallagher would be all over it like a rash. She would be wanting to support that bill so quickly your eyes would bleed.

I think that the hypocrisy of the Stanhope government is shown by the fact that they currently have legislation before the house to make it harder for people to consume a substance which is still legal. We could have that debate—and I am happy to have that debate—but they are saying, “We want to hide it from display so that people walking past will not get the idea that it is all right to smoke cigarettes.”

The logical extension of this is, in fact, Mr Mulcahy’s bill. It is not unusual for me to have constituents come to me and say, “Mrs Dunne, why is it that I cannot easily go and buy a packet of cigarettes but I can walk past a range of shops and buy a bong, which is on display, and a whole lot of other paraphernalia which are on display?”

I support Mr Mulcahy’s bill and I think that the hypocrisy displayed by the Stanhope Labor Party today in not supporting it shows what peddlers of double standards they are. If we are in favour of cutting back, for health reasons, people’s consumption of what is now a legal substance, that is one thing. There is no real community debate opposed to the proposal that the government is bringing forward in relation to the cutting back of displays of advertising for cigarettes; there is general community agreement. In the same way, when I go out and about in my constituency, the people that I speak to who live in Belconnen do scratch their heads and wonder why it is that it is possible that their kids and their sisters and brothers and aunts can go out and buy a bong or a whole lot of other paraphernalia that help them consume an illegal substance.

When Mr Mulcahy brought this legislation forward, my first reaction was: “I wonder why none of us have ever done that before.” And it should have been done before. But the thing is that, when it does come here, the Stanhope government is going to get in his way, is going to get in the way of having rational laws in the ACT in relation to illegal substances.

Yes, this is not going to be the silver bullet that stops people consuming harmful illegal substances but it goes a long way towards using the law as an educative facilitator of an understanding of what is appropriate in the ACT community. I applaud Mr Mulcahy for bringing this forward and I am happy to support his bill.

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