Early this week, the Sunday Times in WA asked Attorney General Christian Porter and his opposition counterpart, John Quigley a series of questions on law and order. The first question was whether WA cannabis laws need to be changed and why. Attorney General Christian Porter gave this disturbing answer:
It remains a top priority of the Liberal National Government to repeal Labor's soft-on-cannabis legislation. This government will not tolerate laws which sanction the use of illicit drugs, particularly drugs that have been shown to cause severe mental health issues.
-WA Attorney General Christian Porter(PerthNow)
-WA Attorney General Christian Porter(PerthNow)
With the current cannabis laws in WA achieving their aims including a continuation of decreased drug use, it seems a little weird that the government would want to change them. But the phrase, “soft-on-cannabis”, exposes what’s really behind the government’s push for harsher cannabis laws ... ideology. This has opened up the WA government for legitimate criticism that they are ignoring the evidence before them and pursuing an outdated and flawed strategy based on nothing but pure fantasy. And why it “remains a top priority” must surely be a worry with so much else going on at the moment. Last week, Federal Member for Mayo and former John Howard advisor, Jamie Briggs also made some remarkable comments concerning illicit drugs:
Drugs are the No. 1 risk young people face and the Federal Government's focus on binge drinking means it is missing the problem
-Jamie Briggs - Federal Member for Mayo (Courier-Mail)
-Jamie Briggs - Federal Member for Mayo (Courier-Mail)
The Liberals are still having a hard time getting over the fact that alcohol causes many more problems than all illicit drugs combined. The mindset that all drugs are evil and alcohol is just part of society is firmly intrenched in politics as it is a clear vote winner. The Rudd government needs some kudos for targeting alcohol especially for their efforts to change the drinking culture in Australia. The government has wisely focussed on a long term strategy which might take 10-20 years to take effect. It’s certainly not a shrewd political move or a vote winner and has become an easy target for the opposition who prefer the more immediate policy of appearing to be “tough on drugs”. And here lies the problem. Focussing on a failed drug policy which has never worked for any government of any country, is bound to fail again. The definition of stupidity is often cited as repeating the same old strategies over and over but expecting a different result. Sound familiar? The Rudd government isn’t much better on drug policy from what we have seen but at least they are focussing on the more serious problem of alcohol.
Christian Porter and Jamie Briggs’ are not alone though and their inane comments about drugs are only two of many made by the Libs over the last year. Remember a newly appointed opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull coyly admitting to smoking pot whilst attending university? Remember the cheeky schoolboy grin and matter-of-fact explanation that quickly evolved into a lecture, damning those who follow in his footsteps? Did Malcolm’s sensibility suddenly become overrun with hard line, Liberal Party ideology? Did he forget for a moment that under his own parties’ “Tough on Drugs” polices, he would have never made it to where he is if he was caught smoking that bong? Who knows? I have looked back over the last year or so and discovered some many challenges from the Libs to the government about who is “toughest on drugs”. I must say that the complete avoidance of investigating a sensible, evidence based drug policy is startling. The Greens and what’s left of the Democrats have much more rational drug policies but are often damned by the major parties as being loopy. It’s a sad day for society when intelligent, well thought out policies backed up with empirical evidence are considered radical whilst maintaining a useless and unsuccessful policy. I have compiled from the last 12 months some classic Liberal Party nonsense dressed up as their “Tough on Drugs” strategy. Keep in mind that these people are supposed to be adults in a position of power and responsibility who are meant to represent us. It is also worth noting that there is ample information and research debunking most of their drug policies and is readily available on the internet.
NOTE: Some items are extracts and some articles have been edited for the sake of readability. For the full articles, click on the links provided. Items of special interest are coloured red.
JAMIE BRIGGS MP - FEDERAL MEMBER FOR MAYO
Booze Focus Misses Top Risk Of Drugs, Says Jamie Briggs
By Emma Chalmers (Courier-Mail)
DRUGS are the No. 1 risk young people face and the Federal Government's focus on binge drinking means it is missing the problem, a Liberal MP and former adviser to John Howard has warned. South Australian MP Jamie Briggs yesterday said The Courier-Mail's recent series on the drugs scourge exposed how cheap and available illicit drugs were to young people. "What (The Courier-Mail's) series of reports showed is the people walking into clubs can buy for $25 something which is mind-altering," he said. "You don't know where it's made, there's no standards for it and in many instances it's very dangerous." Mr Briggs, who replaced former foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer in the seat of Mayo, said that while the Rudd Government was focused on binge drinking and the alcopops tax, it was missing a bigger issue. "If you're serious about addressing issues which are relevant to young people then ecstasy and party drugs have to be part of that," he said. The Rudd Government on Wednesday said it would try again to impose a 70 per cent tax increase on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks popular with young people after its last attempt sank in the Senate by just one vote. Mr Briggs said the Government should widen its alcohol education program - which it will fund with some of the revenue from the tax hike - to include information about all risks relevant to young people, especially drugs. He also called for more police resources to be devoted to the problem.
Excise Tariff Amendment And Customs Tariff Amendment (2009 Measures No 1) Bill 2009
Jamie Briggs MP: Speech to the House
Minister, I never would have undertaken any activities and broken the law—this was binge drinking after 18! It is not a new problem. Binge drinking is a very serious issue and it is a major concern, particularly for those of us who have young children, going forward. We need to educate our children on how to deal properly with alcohol use. It is also not the only problem for young people in society today. We have seen in recent times the problem with illicit drugs, particularly ecstasy at some of these dance and rave parties that have occurred or even at festivals sponsored by a very well-known Australian funded broadcaster. It is not the only issue that haunts young people and that is a challenge to young people. In fact, I would contend it is not the major issue which challenges young people. The truth is that the majority of people in our society use alcohol properly. They do not drink to excess and they do not become a statistic of violence or some of the other problems that occur with overindulging in alcohol. The other truth is that the alcohol industry is a major employer in Australia. Whether it be through the wine industry in my electorate of Mayo in the state of South Australia or through the distilled industries, it is a major employer. So those on the other side should be careful not to take too much of a wowser approach to alcohol, because we are dealing with people’s jobs and people’s lives. What we on this side of the House wanted to see when this was announced was a genuine attempt at addressing a serious issue—not just the issue of binge drinking but the multiple issues that affect young people as they grow into adults and go through the pressures of becoming a young adult. Of course, many of them do overindulge in alcohol. But, as I said earlier, many of them also have issues with illicit drugs, which cause a great deal of harm to many young people in our community. Unlike alcohol, which you can use in a measured way—and most do—illicit drugs of course you cannot. So many of our young people get caught in the cycle of trying different illicit drugs, and it all too often damages their lives. It seems to me that if we were serious about addressing this binge drinking issue, we would also be looking at that as one of the other challenges for young people moving into adulthood. Of course, illicit drugs have to be a major part of that strategy. It is disappointing to us to see that the promise of hundreds of millions of dollars on a preventative health campaign turned into simply $50 million designed to run some ads, as it appears to have done.
The myth that relaxing with one or two drinks is vastly different to drug use, again rears it’s ugly head. Those like Briggs push the image of drugged out, crazy eyed zombies or junkies slumped in an alley with a syringe dangling out of their arm as the guaranteed result of any drug use. The idea that someone can smoke just a little pot to relax or take just one ecstasy tablet for a night of fun is inconceivable to the pro alcohol / anti-drug brigade. Of course, the "use to excess" drug myth was debunked in the 1970s but incredible still remains a valid argument for seasoned liars. The fact is, a small amount of alcohol like “relaxing with one or two drinks” affects the brain and causes a reaction like taking any sort of mind altering drug.
BARRY O'FARRELL MP - NSW STATE LIBERAL LEADER
Call For Anti-Drug Campaign, Ban On Term ‘Recreational Drugs’s
By Barry O'Farrell MP (Media Release)
Crime statistics revealing significant increases in drug offences and drug use across NSW highlighted the urgent need for a high profile campaign to alert the community to the dangers of illegal drugs. These alarming statistics require an urgent and strong response from the State Government. They require a high profile, strong public education campaign that warns people about the dangers of illegal drugs. It should also seek to equip parents with information on how to identify signs their children are using illegal drugs and where to go for help. Official federal figures reveal that NSW spends less money on drug prevention than any other State or territory. We should also seek to banish the term ‘recreational drugs’ from the vocabulary of both the community and the media. We’re talking about harmful and dangerous drugs. Use of the term ‘recreational drugs’ sends a far different message about them. We need to warn young people about the dangers of drugs – we haven’t had such a campaign since the drugs summit ten years ago. Current State policy is failing to tackle the scourge of illegal drugs in our community. NSW needs greater investment in a comprehensive, public program aimed at preventing use of illegal drugs like cocaine and ecstasy. These latest crime figures demonstrate that use of illegal drugs is a growth industry in NSW. They suggest we have taken our eye off the ball. We must use their release to better educate families about the dangers of illegal drug use.
Campbell Drops The Ball On Drug Testing For Rail Workers: A Positive Test Every Five Days
By Barry O'Farrell MP (Media Release)
Transport Minister David Campbell needs to step up the random drug testing of rail workers after the latest figures reveal a decline in the number of tests, but a rise in the number of positive results. As Seven News reported this evening, a rail worker tests positive for drugs every five days.
Year Tests Positive
2004/05 4,498 47
2005/06 8,744 74
2006/07 4,017 51
2007/08 5,136 71
Passenger safety is put at risk if a train driver or guard is affected by drugs. It makes no sense to be cutting the number of random drug tests if the positive test results continue to increase. The minority of rail workers who abuse drugs need to be weeded out and the public needs to be assured that strong action is being taken. They need to know that repeat offenders lose their jobs. Rail commuters already face enough transport stress without having to worry about whether their train driver or guard is affected by drugs. NSW Police don’t cut back on the number of random alcohol tests they carry out. CityRail shouldn’t be cutting back on their drug tests. David Campbell needs to get serious about tackling this dangerous behaviour on the rail network.
See a problem here? Tests haven’t declined, they have increased. That’s only part of the issue though. Most illicit drugs stay in your system much longer than alcohol but have a diminished effect on your performance after 12-24 hours. Cannabis can linger in your blood for 30 days but any real effect from the THC disappears after about 4-5 hours. Other drugs can stay in your blood for 48 hours to weeks with any effects disappearing after 12-24 hours or so. I agree that drug use at certain jobs is extremely dangerous but being picked up a week after you took drugs is a problem that needs some attention.
MIKE GALLACHER MLC - NSW SHADOW POLICE MINISTER
Crime Rises Tied To Economic Conditions: Labor Unprepared
By Mike Gallacher MLC (Media Release)
Recorded crime statistics released by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research today reveal increases in crime rates tied to economic conditions, the affects of which the NSW State Labor Government are ill prepared for. [...] Of equal concern are the dramatic increases in drug possession. While much of this can be put down to increased enforcement at drug use hotspots; it is obvious the anti-drug message is not getting through. The NSW State Labor Government needs to get serious about organised crime, and about cutting the supply of drugs off at the source. Sniffer dogs and overt enforcement of drug laws send a clear message to the wider public that drug use is a crime; but the decrease in narcotics use over the last decade has shown us habitual drug users will not stop until the drug supply is cut off at the source.
For an aspiring police minister, Mike Gallacher is extremely naive. That’s if he actually believes in what he is saying of course. Berating the government for not cutting off the drug supply at it’s source is worth a giggle or two considering the Mexican army can’t even do it in their country. What’s your solution Mike? “Sniffer dogs and overt enforcement of drug laws sending a message”? [more giggles] Yes Mike, you’re a joke.
JILLIAN SKINNER - NSW SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH
Victory For Families And Opposition On Drugs Pamphlet, But Review Must Involve Frontline Educators
By Jillian Skinner (Media Release)
The pulping of a Iemma Government pamphlet giving school children the green light to take illegal drugs is a victory for families and the State Opposition. The pulping of this offensive document was the only option Health Minister Reba Meagher could take. The decision of the Health Minister’s department to produce this document in the first place casts fresh doubts about Reba Meagher’s judgement. If further demonstrates how incompetent the Health Minister is. It also confirms this pamphlet was distributed beyond the small group suggested by various Iemma Government spokespeople. Once again, the Iemma Government has been caught out trying to spin its way out of trouble one minute, and then dithering and trying to cover its tracks the next. Reba Meagher needs to confirm how many of these pamphlets were produced, and how much it cost taxpayers? The review of all drug education material handed out in our schools, announced today, is long overdue. For too long this kind of mixed message has been coming out of the Iemma Government, it has to stop. To be effective this review must involve all people involved in drug education. If this is just another statement to get the media and concerned families off Reba Meagher’s back, it’s going to backfire – we will not rest until this review is made public and all relevant parties are allowed to have their say. Drug education must carry the simple message that it is never safe to take illegal drugs. Only the incompetence of the Iemma Government could stuff up giving this vitally important message to school children.
“The pulping of this offensive document was the only option”
So telling the truth is offensive? Saving lives is offensive? Facing reality is offensive? When will the reality of drug use finally sink in their cold, hard, shit encased brains? Are they really that stupid and if so, what are they doing representing us? Even scarier is that they really do know the reality but are just scumbag liars scurrying for votes. “Drug education must carry the simple message that it is never safe to take illegal drugs” - Again, are they really that stupid? Doesn’t Jillian Skinner have kids or realise that lecturing false promises of life ruining carnage from any drug use at all is simply dismissed as lies? Kids (and adults) who see many friends or family use drugs and not suffering the promised personal apocalypse tend to just ignore the steady stream of doomsday messages. Sadly, they will probably ignore a message which may one day actually be important. Maybe Jillian Skinhead should read the book, The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
COLIN BARNETT - WEST AUSTRALIAN PREMIER
Drug Bin Trial To Go Ahead Despite Opposition
News Article (ABC News)
The West Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, says he will not stand in the way of police trialing drug amnesty bins at major events, even though he does not support the concept. Police are expected to trial the bins at a music concert in Joondalup on Sunday. The trial follows the death of 17-year-old Gemma Thoms, who died in hospital after taking ecstasy tablets at the Big Day Out music festival in Perth in February. It is believed she swallowed the tablets after fearing police, who were searching people, would find them. Concert goers will be able to use to the bins to dispose illegal drugs before entering the venue without facing any charges. Mr Barnett says he does not like the idea. "The Police Commissioner wants to trial that so he can do that," he said. "It's not something that I believe gives the right message and harm minimisation has been a failure and absolute failure in the treatment of drugs in this state."
Straight from the smelly bowels of those lying anti-Harm Minimisation zealots. If HM is such a failure, why are so many countries now implementing it into their drug policies? For a state premier to blatantly lie by assuming it’s a non-scientific issue without evidence, indicates how out of touch Barnett really is. His views might be fluffy ideology but HM is based on science and medical research with qualified results. The opposite to just “sending the wrong message” or other feel good policies.
SUSSAN LEY MP - FEDERAL SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND CUSTOMS
Labor Soft On Border Protection, Soft On Drugs
By Sussan Ley (Media Release)
The Minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus must move swiftly to tighten controls on pill presses being imported into Australia. The smallest of pill presses is capable of pumping out about 6000 pills in just one hour. Considering the use of ecstasy has risen steadily from 1.2% of the population in 1993 to 3.5% in recent years, and we know that the precursor chemicals are slipping though the net all the time, a ban on importing pill presses by unlicensed members of the public is a sensible way of attacking the problem at the sharp end – where manufacturing takes place. The Rudd Labor Government cannot continue to allow organised criminal groups and outlaw motorcycle gangs to use the postal service to make and receive their illicit drug supply. Minister Debus has said there are no plans for even a review of the policy to import pill presses. How can the Rudd Labor Government claim they have a Tough on Drugs strategy when they will not even consider banning the drug making machinery? At the annual UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna in March this year, the Rudd Labor Government protested that the term ‘harm reduction’ had been pointedly excluded from a political declaration. This puts Australia at loggerheads with our traditional ‘tough on drugs’ ally, the United States. This further proves the Rudd Labor Government is taking a soft approach to illicit drugs. Experience has proven that harm minimisation has failed and hard-hitting measures are needed. Minister Debus needs to come out of his hole and start making some tough decisions to protect Australia from the flood of illicit drugs crossing our borders.
More from Sussan Ley - Liberal Party News
Sea containers house the largest volumes of illicit drugs that come into Australia and criminals and organised criminal syndicates rely on workers in the maritime environment to move illicit drugs from one country to another. It is impossible to say what quantity of illegal drugs is slipping through the net but we do know that the prices pad for illegal narcotics in Australia are the highest in the world so there is every reason for organised crime syndicates to target this country
-Rudd Needs To Clarify: Are Criminals Running Our Docks? - 27, February 2009
If people smugglers are getting savvy, then so will importers of drugs, weapons and other contraband, so Rudd and his Government need to get savvy too.
-Rudd And Debus Prove They’re Unable To Protect Our Borders - April 16, 2009
With Australia being seen once again as a ‘soft target’ by people smugglers and the increasing numbers of illegal vessels arriving on our shores we must put more focus on patrols without taking away from other customs duties such as preventing illicit drugs and weapons entering the country, illegal fishing, and wildlife smuggling.
-Rudd Leaves Our Borders Vulnerable - April 9, 2009
Customs Officers are charged with protecting the Australian community by intercepting illegal drugs, weapons, dangerous plant species and smuggled wildlife, not to mention interdiction of people smuggling vessels in our northern waters.
-Shameful Labor Cuts Customs Staff Pay By Stealth - March 30, 2009
Gang related crime can happen at our wharves as well as our airports and the Rudd Government needs to shape up on port security to prevent organised criminals smuggling drugs, guns and money through Australia’s docks. It is clear that maritime security is our most vulnerable defence against terrorism, drug trafficking and the illegal movement of people and weapons.
-Criminal Gangs Exploiting Our Wharves - March 23, 2009
It is shameful that the Rudd Labor Government feels it is OK to waste $10 million when we have drugs on our streets, and weapons in the hands of outlaw bikie gangs.
-Kevin Rudd, Robbing Peter To Re-Badge Paul - March 23, 2009
If the Government cares about stamping out the supply of illicit drugs in Australia, they should admit they made an error in cutting Customs and AFP funding and reverse the cuts in the up-coming Budget.
-Customs Cocaine Bust Underscores Risk In Labor’s Budget Cuts - February 17, 2009
In conjunction with several other tasks, Customs are responsible for overseeing mass volumes of imports and exports, along with detecting illicit drugs and prohibited imports to ensure they do not get through the gate. Customs are the front line in protecting our borders from these threats and the Rudd Labor Government has taken this for granted when they recklessly slashed funds to our border protection and law enforcement agencies.
-Border Security Disaster Looms - December 17, 2008
Ms Ley said sea containers house the largest volumes of illicit drugs that come into Australia and criminals and organised crime rings rely on workers in the maritime environment to move illicit drugs from one country to another.
-Changes Needed To Make Australian Ports Secure - October 9, 2008
Like all loyal members of the Liberal Party, Sussan Ley really has an obsession with illicit drugs especially those being smuggled into Australia. After all, it’s her role as Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs to keep the government honest about customs and border security. But maybe she should be honest herself. Not once has Sussan Ley mentioned that only about 10% of illicit drugs coming into this country are detected or confiscated. Fiddling around the edges is not going to stop drugs being imported into Australia. Ending prohibition will.
SENATOR MATHIAS CORMANN - SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR HEALTH ADMINISTRATION
What About The Winnable War On Drugs Prime Minister?
By Mathias Cormann (Media Release)
Kevin Rudd needs to commit to the ‘war on drugs’. In his first year in office the Prime Minister has been leading a ‘war’ on just about everything. Why is it then that his Government has abandoned the critically important war on drugs? More than a year after the release of the comprehensive House of Representatives Committee report “The winnable war on drugs – The impact of illicit drug use on families” the Rudd Government still has not provided any response to the Parliament. In the Government’s propaganda paper on its first year in office the battle faced by too many families against the enemy of drug abuse hardly rates a mention. The time for more Committees and reviews on the challenge of drug abuse is over. This is the time to make decisions and take action. We need decisions focused on winning the war, not on helping the enemy gain more strength. The story in today’s Daily Telegraph is a shocking demonstration of how a completely misguided harm minimisation approach by Labor in NSW is failing young people and their families. Our children don’t need lessons on how to use harmful and illicit drugs. They need to get the clear message that drugs are bad. Of course we have to provide effective treatment to anyone with a drug problem – but it should never ever be done in a way that normalises drug use. Any parent would be shocked and horrified to read the advice that has been circulated to children in NSW schools, including comments such as:
- If you don’t already have a reliable dealer, try to find one and stick with them
- When you’re using a new batch (of speed) only try a little at first - you can always use the rest later if you need to
- Budget for food, rent and bills BEFORE you spend money on drugs
- Don’t buy drugs on credit
It is time the Prime Minister showed some national leadership on this. Teaching 14 year old kids how to use illicit drugs is just outrageous. This is another ‘harm minimisation’ booklet that should be pulped immediately! I look forward to meeting with Darren Marton, the founder of the ‘Drugs - No-Way’ campaign in Canberra on Wednesday, along with Ms Bronwyn Bishop, who chaired the House of Representatives Inquiry into Illicit Drugs last year.
Anyone who seriously thinks Bronwyn Bishop’s report, “The Winnable War on Drugs” is worth consideration should instantly be ignored. Topping it up with “Kevin Rudd needs to commit to the ‘war on drugs’” and “this is another ‘harm minimisation’ booklet that should be pulped immediately” only backs it up. Maybe they should learn that it’s better to say nothing when you have nothing useful to say. Nothing highlights this better than Cormann’s criticism of the practical tips given to those kids who have started using drugs. Read more here.
THE HON CHRISTOPHER ELLISON - SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
My Decision To Retire From Politics
By Christopher Ellison (Media Release)
As Minister for Schools, he helped to implement national benchmarks for literacy and numeracy and oversaw a revision of funding for non-government schools. He also set up, for the first time, a National Advisory Committee on School Drug Education. As part of the Prime Minister’s Tough on Drugs Strategy, Senator Ellison oversaw the development of the $7.4 million Schools Drug Education Strategy with the national goal of no illicit drugs in schools.
Looks like his goal of no illicit drugs in schools was a fizzer. Do they really believe these goals of a drug free society? Heck, we can’t even stop drugs getting into prisons but magically we were going to stop drugs in schools. Again, some basic questions need to be asked - Are they really that stupid? If yes, why the hell are we listening to them. If no, they are being deceitful because they know the goals are unachievable.
MIKE HORAN - QLD LIBERAL NATIONAL PARTY(LNP) JUSTICE SPOKESMAN
LNP Justice commitment- Major Sentencing Audit and Law Reform
A major sentencing audit to achieve community standards was a key part of the LNP’s Government commitment to restore confidence in the States struggling Justice System. People were sick and tired of Labor’s weak sentencing laws that allowed serious criminals such as rapists and armed robbers to walk free from court. An LNP Government would conduct an immediate audit of criminal sentencing laws, the results of which would underpin any changes to the laws. The LNP will make Queensland’s drug laws the toughest in the country to stop the scourge of drugs upon young people and crime. As part of the LNP’s commitment to overhaul sentencing laws in Queensland, drug traffickers and serious drug producers can expect serious jail time. An LNP Government would ensure that serious offenders such as drug traffickers serve 100 per cent of their jail sentences. The LNP is committed to introducing telephone interception powers to assist our police in catching the drug producers and dealers. The LNP would provide effective rehabilitation options for first-time young offenders and examine the use of mandatory drug rehabilitation orders for others. The LNP believes that the hard work of our police in catching these criminal should be backed up by tough, effective sentencing. Making excuses for drug dealers and drug criminals needs to end, now. We need a system of justice that holds these people accountable for their actions and puts community safety first. Other LNP Justice Policy Commitments include:
- Immediate Sentence Audit
- Remove detention as a last resort from Juvenile Justice Act
- Establishment of youth training centres to break the cycle of crime and provide a chance for reform
- Mandatory Minimum 3 months Jail for serious assaults on police
- Introduce voluntary intoxication by drug or alcohol as a circumstance of aggravation for all serious violent offences
- Criminal Law Reform- ‘One punch can kill laws’
- Graffiti clean up and tough gate-crashing laws
- Mandatory minimum sentences for Drug traffickers
- Telephone interception powers for police
- No sex offender will be released without having completed a rehabilitation program and considered safe
- Support of Justice staff and career opportunities
Drug Traffickers Should Do Time
The failure of a court in Cairns to sentence a drug trafficker to any real jail time is further evidence that sentencing laws in Queensland need to be reformed. Drug trafficking and illegal drug use was the underlying cause of most robberies and property crime in Queensland. The community expects to see such drug traffickers sent to jail not released with a slap on the wrist. Punishment for crimes must reflect community standards and also protect the community. An immediate parole order release for a serious drug trafficking offence shows the sentencing laws under the Bligh Government are failing. Sentences need to send a clear message to would-be criminals and the rest of the community that such behaviour will be dealt with harshly. If sentences don't reflect community standards it's our job as law-makers to ensure they do ... drug trafficking puts the lives of every Queenslander at risk. Labor has made an art-form of pretending to be tough on crime. They have gone about increasing maximum penalties for offences, but nothing to ensure tough penalties are applied at court, where it counts."
Mandatory Rehab For Druggies
Changes to Queensland's court system were needed to ensure addicts undertook rehab to break the drug-crime-cycle. Research by the State's Crime and Misconduct Commission showed pressing all people with serious substance abuse problems into mandatory rehab had to be considered as a viable option to just voluntary rehab. The findings of the CMC's study were very welcome and he called on the Bligh government to respond to redress the major problem of drug-linked crime. Queensland is a major source of amphetamines and other hard drugs and we need to ensure people addicted to drugs have access to the support they need. If we can break the cycle of drug crime it will save society in the long term. Figures released in the Corrective Services annual report show 70 per cent of people currently going through the Drug Court do not finish rehab and less people have been going through the program. We need to invest more in the drug rehabilitation and court system to ensure it works. The CMC research shows offenders with drug and/or alcohol abuse problems don't need to be psychologically ready and motivated for treatment to get results with about 65 per cent of those who underwent treatment reporting positive outcomes regardless of whether the treatment was mandatory or voluntary. The CMC research paper, Mandatory treatment and perceptions of treatment effectiveness, looked at the risks and needs of 480 non-custodial drug offenders in Qld. The results suggest people with serious substance abuse problems need support and encouragement to access treatment, so mandatory treatment for offenders may be an effective option.
How do people like Horan get in these positions of power? I can’t fathom how someone is given the justice portfolio and then encourages even more useless law and order initiatives that have failed consistently in other countries including Australia. In the business world, Horan would be sacked and shamed for being completely incompetent. There are so many suggestions from Horan that have failed previously that it resembles a parody comedy skit. Comments like “drug trafficking puts the lives of every Queenslander at risk” and “If we can break the cycle of drug crime it will save society in the long term” have no substance at all but reflect the mindset of a government without real solutions. It’s always easy to get “Tough on Drugs” using standard, vote friendly rhetoric but it doesn’t actually address the problems. If Horan can be so wrong on this issue, why should we trust him with anything else?