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 problems with this provision and the reasonable grounds are certainly sufficient. Mr BELL: Mr Chairman, does the Attorney-General accept that, potentially, this subclause could have application beyond the circumstances of illegal drug use? Mr MANZIE: Mr Chairman, that is possible. It relates to possession of a hypodermic syringe and, in all circumstances, the possession of a syringe necessitates that all reasonable care be taken. We are talking about something that can cause death. This Assembly has enacted legislation enabling intravenous drug users to exchange needles. We have taken far-reaching steps because of the consequences of the diseases that needles can carry. I do not think this is unreasonable at all. I am sure the courts can make the app~opriate a~sessment as to whether people took reasonable care in the use of a syringe: We have to remember that, nowadays, a syringe is like a loaded gun, and it has to be treated as such. It is for that reason that that provision has been included. Mr Bell: It is a public health measure! Mr COLLINS: Mr Chairman, clause 12 and clause 13 are not logically con s i stent with one another. I st ill have great dHfi cul ty with theneedl e exchange program. In one case, a person may possess a hypodermic syringe in _a variety of circumstances and that is considered to be all right. However, if he injects himself, it is not. There is no logic to it. The member for MacDonnell mentioned something that I want to speak about: There have been people who have claimed to have had syringes containing AIDS contaminated blood and have used them as a threat or as a lethal weapon. I da resay the Criminal Code would cover that. Even to threaten someone with a dirty needle is something the public would find most abhorrent. It ought to be dealt with most severely. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH: Mr Chairman, I would like to take issue with the honourable minister about clause 12(4). It states: 'A person who possesses a hypodermic syringe or needle that has been used in the administration of a dangerous drug who fails to dispose of the syringe or needle in the manner prescribed is guilty of an offence ' . The minister seemed to ignore that. He seemed to think that anybody who had a hypodermic syringe in hi s possession could be guilty of an offence. The minister. told us that anybody who had a hypodermic syringe in his possession and who did not dispose of it in the prescribed manner is guilty of an offence. I do not think that is true. There. are people who are quite legally entitled to use syringes. They -are not using them for the administration of dangerous drugs. The minister cannot go against what is written there. Mr Manzie: It says for the administration of dangerous drugs, Noel. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH: You said that it was any syringe that a person had. Mr Manzie: I did not. You read it. Mrs PADGHAM-PURICH: J have read it. MrBAILEY: Mr Chairman, I would like the minister to clarify the situation regarding clause 12(3). It states that anyone who has possession of a hypodermic syringe who fails to use all reasonable care and take all precautions to avoid danger to the life, safety or health of another person 8856
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