Page 3748 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 19 September 2018
plants. This will also limit the interaction ordinary Canberrans may have with organised crime.
Madam Speaker, let me pre-empt some of the criticisms or concerns about this bill that people in the hard right conservative faction of the Liberal Party, who are sniggering opposite, may have. To those who may question whether this change is really necessary: yes. As I have shown, criminalisation itself causes harm. To people who may question why we should prioritise such an issue: this may not be the most important issue to you, but for a section of our community it is important. This, combined with the positive flow-on effects of legalisation, justify us legislating for this change.
People may be concerned about the mental health effects of cannabis. Studies have shown that cannabis can have a negative impact on the mental health of those with pre-existing mental health conditions or those genetically predisposed to having one. The current system is not preventing these people from using cannabis, but the prospect of a criminal record is not going to improve anyone’s mental health and it may stop people seeking professional help, should they need it.
I have seen scaremongering about substance-affected road users driving when people are picking up their kids from school. This is a scare tactic. It will remain illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis, just as it is illegal to drive drunk. People who were law-abiding yesterday will not all of a sudden become law-breakers tomorrow.
It is time for our government to legalise cannabis for personal use. Our current laws are based on historical misinformation. Sensible policy would treat cannabis like we do tobacco and alcohol and not criminalise the 35 per cent of Australians who have used the substance. No-one should have their life ruined because they got caught with a bit of pot.
Since I announced this bill on Monday, I have received an outpouring of community support. Canberrans support progressive, evidence-based policies. The community is ready for this bill. I urge all members of this place to support this bill. This is a commonsense reform; let’s get it done.
Standing order 136—statement by Speaker
MADAM SPEAKER: Members, standing order 136 enables the Speaker to disallow any motion or amendment which is the same in substance as any question which has been in this calendar year resolved in the affirmative or negative. In exercising discretion under this standing order the Speaker needs to have regard to the intent of the standing order—namely, to prevent obstruction or unnecessary repetition which would consume the valuable time of the Assembly.
Mrs Dunne’s notice of motion is listed as notice No 2, private members’ business, on today’s notice paper. On 1 August this year the Assembly debated a motion moved by Mrs Dunne which was listed on the daily program as the possible establishment of a board of inquiry into bullying in ACT Health. Whilst the notice lodged on Monday