1. Inquiry into Drug Law Reform
We responded to the state government’s Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee inquiry into drug law reform.
On Term of Reference No. 1 – The effectiveness of laws, procedures and regulations relating to illicit and synthetic drugs.
- We strongly urged that drug use be redefined as a health and social issue, rather than a law enforcement issue.
- We noted that even though more than two-thirds of expenditure has been on law reinforcement, the illicit drug market has expanded, therefore new approaches need to be tried.
On Term of Reference No. 2 – The practice of other Australian states.
- We urged the setting up of supervised injecting facilities, as have been successfully in operation in King’s Cross for 16 years.
- We cited the growing support for such a facility, such as by the Australian Medical Association, Royal College of Physicians and Victoria Police.
- We recommended that the gradual decriminal-ization of drug use be considered, citing the success of such action in Portugal in 2001.
(Copy sent to Fiona Patten, whose Private Member’s Bill proposes the provision of supervised injecting facilities.)
2. Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) Bill
This is a very important piece of legislation and the Andrews government is dealing with this matter in a thorough and consultative manner. They set up a Ministerial Advisory Panel chaired by Professor Brian Owler. This group has produced a 25-page Discussion Paper which aims to canvas all aspects of the legislation and community concerns.
The Discussion Paper gives the Committee’s recommendations under 15 Key issues headings. For each issue there are elaborating explanations, concluding with ‘Questions to consider’. It was these questions that members discussed at the Sunday meeting on 12 March.
Committee members are still fine-tuning the wording of our submission, which has a 10 April deadline.
Thanks to Halina Strnad, submissions archivist, for her initial work on these submissions and to the others who have had an input.
Rosslyn Ives, Submissions convener