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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 quite a number of acts relate to drug abuse in various ways. It is necessary to amend them, where needed, to bring them all into line with what the government is attempting to do. The Misuse of Drugs Bill, which is the main bill in this group, deals with criminal drug offences in particular. It relates to drug traffickers who wreak havoc on our young people by market i ng these drugs in the communi ty. They do so ina who 1 e range of places. We have been concerned about allegations that drugs are marketed at times through the schools, especially the secondary schools, and through hotels, and licensed premises. I have heard allegations that certain bars are noted as 'places where trafficking occurs. I am quite sure that the Drug Squad is well aware of that and pays very close attention to those places. This legislation will give the police the weapons with which to fight this menace. The penalties that will be imposed by these amendments will provide a very strong deterrent to those who would peddle drugs in our communi ty. One of the concerns that the government has is that probably' a higher percentage of our young people are exposed to drug abuse than perhaps those in the states. The reason is that our population contains a much higher percentage of young people than is the case elsewhere in Australia. I mentioned earlier that the legislation contains 2 schedules listing various drugs. , Schedule 1 refers to hard drugs and there are 5 on the list. I know that the member for MacDonnell wants to increase that by transferring a number of drugs on schedule 2 to schedule 1. Schedule 2 includes about 150 drugs, including drugs such as cannabis, amphetamines and methadone. The bill increases substantially the penalties applicable to drug trafficking and to the possession of drugs. However, there is a grading in the various penalties that apply. The object is to eradicate or at least to reduce considerably the drug trade in the community. I was very interested to hear the comments of the member for MacDonnell with regard to kava. I must say that I share his view in that regard. I am on record as having been highly critical of the di stri but i on of kava in our commun ity over severa 1 years. I wa s interested to note the comments of the Attorney-General and the comments of the Minister for Health and Community Services who indicated last week that his department was looking very closely at the need perhaps to introduce legislation, I will be saying more about the use and abuse of kava at another time. However, I certainly hope that the minister translates his comments into action .. I was amazed to hear the comments of the member for MacDonnell earlier this evening in relation to kava. Despite the fact that kava has caused havoc in Aboriginal communities in northern Arnhem Land, apart from comments on one occas i on by the member for Arnhem, I do not reca 11 hea ri ng any comments from members of the opposition. in relation to it. I would have thought that,' over the last couple of years, we would have heard time and time again from members of the opposition expressing their concern about kava abuse in Aboriginal communities. I stand corrected if the member for MacDonnell can draw my attention to comments, other than those of the member for Arnhem, about the abuse of kava. The opposition has been quite negligent on this issue. All of a sudden, with this bill before us this even i ng, the member for MacDonne 11 has taken an interest in the abuse of kava. I am very pleased that he has finally done that. Mr Speaker, I support the minister's comments and the bills. Mr SMITH. (Opposition Leader): Mr Speaker, the one .,comment made by the member for Jingi1i that stuck with me relates to Operation Noah, an Australia-wide police initiative that we all support. I am sure that the 8836