Page 3745 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Nobody in the government seems to be leaping with concern about the people who might have been killed, the families that might be victims of somebody driving a car under the influence. I have said in this place before that I have seen studies conducted in the emergency departments of South Australian hospitals where it was found that 30 per cent of people who were admitted as the result of motor cycle accidents had traces of illegal substances in their systems. But the doubting Thomases need to be convinced; so rather than potentially impacting on the liberties of those who are using illicit substances and jumping into cars, we find reasons for delay. It is the same thing here.
I was expecting an amendment from Dr Foskey, not because she had told me about it, but the Attorney-General told me this morning that Dr Foskey had planned to move an amendment to try and have these things put below the counter. I am not surprised by the Greens. The Greens are the apologists for illicit drugs in Australian politics. That stance did them enormous damage in the federal election back in 2004, and they have been embarrassed by that ever since. They were embarrassed by that website they had up but, at the end of the day, they will pander to that section of our community, and they try to make light of the impacts.
Dr Foskey can talk about people like me, who she seems to think wear tweed jackets with leather patches—I do not actually—but let me put to her this sobering thought: there were 12 directors in the last organisation I worked for, two of whom had children who died from drug overdoses. I can tell you that there is nothing more distressing or tragic than going along to a funeral for a young person. When you talk to those parents, you will not find them saying, “Richard, it’s cool to let these things be out there, because we don’t want to drive it underground.” You will not find that perspective from those parents or those affected families. They are the sorts of people who are delighted that people like me, and others, will come into parliaments and bring in laws to try and make it more difficult to experiment with illicit drugs.
I know that is not going to be the end of it. I said that at the beginning, and I say it today. But if you constantly take this small “l” liberal approach to everything and say, “Well, we have to consult further, and we really don’t want to make a decision. We might lose a few votes from those who are into illicit substances,” then what is the point of being here to take a view that we are here to govern for the benefit of all Canberrans?
We pass laws in this place about laser pointers because they could bring down aircraft. Do we go out and consult those who do it? Did we go out and consult the manufacturers of the laser pointers? I bet we did not. We passed laws here about vehicle modifications, and so we are going to seize cars from hoons because they tear up and down Anzac Parade or out at Hume or in the Mitchell estate at night and kill one another? Do we go out and say, “Well, we don’t want to upset you; we should let you continue to do these things”? The fact of the matter is that there is a point when parliaments have got to pass laws and address problems that are evident.
Mr Corbell is clamouring for evidence that this might reduce illicit drug use. There is no firm evidence; I accept that. But there is not a lot of firm evidence for a host of other things too. We get the tobacco example cited: “You know, if we get rid of the