23 November 2018
With the support of the opposition, the government continues to pretend to protect people from illegal drugs by putting more people in prison.
I strongly opposed its latest move to jail someone for up to 20 years if they sell an illegal drug that someone else takes and dies from, because it prevents harm minimisation and is not based on any evidence. The offence defies a long held common law principle that homicide responsibility is linked to causation, which is not the case when a drug dealer’s only intent is to supply drugs and a person who buys and takes the drugs does so with their own free will. The new offence will capture low level drug dealers who sell drugs in their social network because they use drugs while doing nothing to stop the syndicates that manufacture and traffic illegal substances.
This comes as many young people report to me that the strong police presence and widespread strip searches at music festivals are increasingly intimidating and impacting on the atmosphere. The War on Drugs has not reduced the demand for mind altering substances, but it has stigmatised drug users and convicted otherwise law abiding citizens.
During debate, I again urged the government to listen to the medical, social and legal drug and alcohol experts and take a new approach based on keeping people safe from harm including decriminalising personal use and allowing pill testing. My speech is available HERE.