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Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 Mr Be 11: Panderi ng. Mr SETTER: ... that you and your colleagues have indicated that you will not support these bills. The member for MacDonnell read out a list of drugs in schedule 2 which he said would be more appropriate for inclusion in schedule 1. The drugs listed in schedule 1 are heroin, cocaine and several others. In other words, they are the hard drugs. Thus, in one breath, he says that we are being too tough and, in the next breath, he says that a number of drugs that are on schedule 2 should be on schedule 1. Of course, if they are on schedule 1, they will attract much harsher penalties. I think the poor guy is a bit confused. There is no doubt in my mind at all that this legislation has wide. commun i ty support. The content of thi s seri es of bi 11 s, if not the bill s themselves, has been available in various forms for discussion in the public arena for over 12 months. Honourable members will reca 11 tha t the content of this legislation was contained originally with what ultimately became the needle exchange legislation. Eventually, the needle exchange legislation was extracted from that package and passed through this Assembly in the middle of last year. However, there has been more opportunity for publ ic discussion of the content of these bills than any other legislation that I can recall. Let us reflect on the federal Labor government's approach to the matter of drug abuse. It would appear from hi s comments that the member for MacDonne 11 does not support hi s federal colleagues in what they have been attempt i ng to do. Some 2 years ago, the federa 1 government spent we 11 in excess of $lm on its drug offensive. It produced glossy booklets that were distributed far and wide throughout this country at enormous expense. It was a very commendable approach to the concern s of the commuri ity about the abuse of hard and soft drugs by young people in our community. It was a commendable effort, but the honourable member did not mention it. I assume that he does not support it. Recently, Operation Noah was conducted once again by the police. Under this program, members of the public can telephone advice to police with regard to persons who are suspected of using, abusing or trafficking in drugs in the community. I know that, in the past, a number of arrests have been made as a result of Operation Noah. That is another very commendable exercise that is conducted by the police on an annual basis with the support of thi s government and, I understand, that of the federa 1 government. That operation is conducted nationally. My poi nt is that there is enormous concern in the commun ity about the abuse of drugs, particularly by young people, and an enormous amount of money has been spent by the federa 1 government and state governments in trying to address that issue and retard the increasing abuse of various drugs by young people. That is the aim of these bills, yet we have heard the member for MacDonne 11 say that he and his co 11 eagues will not support the legislation because it has no reference to alcohol and tobacco. That is absolute nonsense. The package of bills before us rationalises those relating to drug abuse in genera 1. For the interest of honourable members, I wi 11 mention the legislation involved: the Misuse of Drugs B111, the Poisons and Dangerous Drugs Amendment Bill, the Criminal Code Amendment Bill and the Crimes (Forfei ture of Proceeds) Amendment Bill. Of course, it is we 11 known that 8835