Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 Mr Bell: Well, you are moving the other way. Mr MANZIE: I am following what is occurring throughout the civilised world. In America, ~eople are saying that they got it wrong, that the great problems that they have in that country with drug abuse and the tremendous degradation of whole communities because of drug abuse, was brought about by an attitude 20 years ago that led them to adopt a softer and gentle~ approach. They thought that, if they tried to understand, everything would be all right; It did not work, and now people are tearing their hair out, and wondering which way to go next. Look at the problems with cocaine abuse in some of the major urban areas in AmeY'ica. The situation is absolute'ly appalling. Look at what has occurred in Melbourne and Sydney and the problems that are spreading to Queensland and across to South Australia.' The solutions that were put forward 20 years ago have not worked. It is no use advocating more of the same, because that is a cop-out. If we wi sh to be responsible, we cannot do that. If we are moving towards t.ighteningup on tobacco and a 1 coho 1 abuse, why shoul d we be .softer with the abuse ,',of other substances that people are using in the community? I have had a very clear message from people regarding this legislation and, as I said, I have had it distributed far and wide. Every school council in the Northern Territory has a copy of it, as do church and community organisations. I have received response after response saying that it is time that we did something to ensure that the sale of drugs is' restricted and to penalise those who make capital out of them. It is a filthy business. Mr Smith: We dO,not have a problem with that, do we? Mr Bell: No, it is fine. Mr MANZIE: That is not what you said in this House. You said that we should go easy on some things, that we should turn a blind eye to the personal use of marijuana and the growing of it for personal use. As I pointed out earlier, the amount of money involved in even up 4 mature plants makes it extremely worth while for someone to cultivate 4 plants and sell the crop. We cannot have it both ways. We cannot say it is all right for a little bit but not for a 1 a rger amount. We say either no or ye s. We sa i d so many, years ago. We have legislation that is operating at present, and it imposes a maximum penalty of a prison sentence for possession and use of amounts of marijuana. It contains penalties of that kind, but the operation of the wording of the legislation is such that it is very hard for the police to be able to obtain the appropriate evidence. This new legislation is directed at making enforcement easier, and that has to be the case if we are fair dinkum. If we are not going to be fair dinkum, if we are going to say it is all too hard, then we should not be hypocritical about it. If members feel that way, let them say that the legislation should be withdrawn. It is useless to be halfhearted about it. Thereisan important fact that each of us should keep in mind. It is all very well to say that we should get the pushers and the suppliers. How can we get tough with the pushers and go easy on the users? Without users, there would be no pushers. IfpeopTe did not purchase, people would not sell. If we go soft on users and make it easy for them to purchase, people will continue to supply and sell, and that would show that we were not fair dinkum. We have to learn from the experience in the rest of the 8849
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