Alex's Update Issue 182
Monday 15 August 2016
Harm Minimisation Summit
I’m working with Parliamentary colleagues Jo Haylen from Labor, Shayne Mallard from the Liberals and Mehreen Faruqi from the Greens to build multi-partisan support for evidence-based approaches to drug use and problems.
Our harm minimisation summit last week brought together experts and leaders like former Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery, former High Court Justice Michael Kirby, Medically Supervised Injecting Centre founding director Dr Ingrid van Beek, Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation President Dr Alex Wodak and former Premier Bob Carr to discuss the need for change. Harm minimisation was at the forefront of the 1999 Drug Summit and produced reforms that continue to save lives but law and order still dominates responses. Drugs policy must focus on preventing death and injury, encouraging those with problems to get effective help and on reducing crime.
Health workers, academics and legal experts all agreed on the need for a pill testing trial and the decriminalisation of drug use. We will push for another drug summit jointly convened by the Premier and Opposition Leader that recommends government on needed reforms. Keep in touch with the harm minimisation campaign HERE.
Small Bars Progress
Small bars have grown in popularity following Clover Moore’s successful campaign in 2007 however most small bars have general (hotel) bar or restaurant licences because the small bar licence category only allows 60 patrons. Small bars help diversify the night time scene and rarely contribute to violence.
In response to my question in Parliament, the minister noted the important role of small bars and committed to examining ways to support them including increasing the patron limit to 120. My question is HERE.
Sydney Dogs & Cats Home
I’ve asked the Minister for Primary Industries and Land and Water to help find a new home for the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, the only Sydney non-profit no-kill pound which finds homes for about 3,000 pets each year – for nine council areas, including Woollahra. Their site has been sold and the home is now losing its home. My question is HERE. You can support their relocation and rebuilding project HERE.
My oped in the Huffington Post reviews the 12 year anniversary of the federal Howard Government and Labor Opposition amendments to the Marriage Act to exclude same-sex couples from the celebration of marriage. The change was in response to Australians getting married overseas in jurisdictions that had marriage equality – the then government wanted to block recognition of these marriages and to stymie any court challenges.
We’ve come a long way since then, with more than 70 per cent of the community supporting marriage equality and increasing pressure for reform. Read my oped HERE.
Abortion Law Reform
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights is hosting a panel discussion on abortion law reform in NSW 6-7.30pm Tuesday 23 August at NSW Parliament. Speakers MPs Mehreen Faruqi and Penny Sharpe will discuss the two bills they intend to introduce, Associate Professor Kirsten Black from the University of Sydney and health and medical lawyer Catherine Henry. The panel will examine reform from a human rights perspective. Details HERE.