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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 danger that some face. A considerable amount of study has been done on the subj ect. I have often sa i d that I admi re those people who are able to maintain control over what they drink. However, even those who drink in moderation and whose behaviour is socially acceptable may find that, when a crisis occurs in their life, they need that prop. All of these things are used as props that people use to help them through life's problems. It is the demand side of the equation that concerns me. There might be a grain of truth in the member for MacDonnell's belief that there is not too much pushi ng occurri ng. Many people in the commun ity are demandi ng these drugs. If there were no demand for drugs, there would be no point in supplying them. We should address this as well. Of course, education can help people to realise that they can stand on their own 2 feet. That is the clear message delivered at the life Education Centres which are working strongly not only against the use of heroin and marijuana, but also alcohol and nicotine. The problem is a reflection of the community. What sort of community are we? Are we a community of strong, tough Australians who can take what life throws at us and stand on our own feet, or are we becoming a nation of people who fall back on various drugs to give us a lift? Are we unable to enjoy life without something to stimulate us? That would be a terrible state of affairs, but it seems that, more and more, we are heading that way. Even if there are many people smoking marijuana, we should not go soft on it. We must give a clear direction. I believe that many people who have a dependency, even on soft drugs, real i se in thei r saner and more sober moments that they would rather not be dependent on those drugs. We must bring the message home to the people whom we are most concerned about - our own children. We have a duty to stand firm and indicate the standard that we bel ieve in. It may not be the average of community standards. We might not be popular in the process, but we must set a standard and maintain that standard. I support the legislation. I am particularly pleased that the property of persons convicted of selling drugs can be seized. That is long overdue. Mr MANZIE (Attorney-General): Mr Speaker, the debate on this legislation has been a bit of any eye-opener. It is clear that some members do not understand the legislation and also have a problem in their attitude towards some drugs. The member for MacDonnell, the Leader of the Opposition and the member for Stuart were really sayi ng that it is okay to use some drugs in small amounts but it is not okay to use those drugs in large amounts; It is not okay for certain quantities of drugs to be sold in certain areas, but it is okay if it is done on a small scale. That attitude reflects naivete and the receipt of information from people who have closed minds. It reflects famil iarity with people who bel ieve that it is okay to use a little bit of marijuana. If they think it is okay to use a little bit of marijuana, the appropriate and less hypocritical step would be to propose an amendment to decrimina1ise marijuana. The Leader of the Opposition said that this legislation means that someone with 1 plant on his windowsill will go to jail for 2 years. That is patently incorrect. It shows that he has not read the legislation. A penalty of 2 years would be imposed for 4 plants for a third or fourth offence. I have been advi sed that 1 cannabi s plant can produce 500 g of cannabi sand, therefore, 4 plants can produce 2000 g of cannabi s. That amount could be worth up to $50 000 at the street level. If the Leader of the Opposition thinks people will grow plants purely for their own use when they can make $50 000 out of it, he is 1 iving in cloud cuckoo land. In other words., we are sayi ng that 2 years is the maximum penalty for 4 plants 8846