Michelle Lensink

Summary Offences (Drug Paraphernalia) Amendment Bill

This speech is to indicate the Liberal Party's support for the Summary Offences (Drug Paraphernalia) Amendment Bill.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (17:38): I rise to indicate Liberal support for this bill, which should come as no surprise to anyone seeing as we supported what I understand to be a previous incarnation which lapsed on the previous Notice Paper, and again sponsored by the Hon. Ann Bressington: the Controlled Substances (Sale of Equipment) Amendment Bill 2006.

My understanding is that the issue of hydroponic equipment is not in this bill but another bill which is co-sponsored by the government, or something to that effect. In her second reading explanation, I note that the honourable member indicated that she now has government support for the bill and has an agreement with the government that the other issues will be dealt with in the Controlled Substances (Possession of Prescribed Equipment) Amendment Bill. In my second reading contribution to the Hon. Ann Bressington's former bill, I outlined that, in our own drug policy that we took to the last election, we supported the regulation of both purchasers and vendors of hydroponic equipment, and so forth, in relation to illicit drugs.

The bill before us makes the sale of pipes, bongs and cocaine kits (which come under the heading of drug paraphernalia) illegal. The effect of this is to define that certain specific utensils are assumed to be used for the consumption of illicit drugs and are therefore prohibited. So, the issue that we have had for police officers, who are unable to take any action in relation to equipment that is sold in places such as Off Ya Tree, which is mentioned quite regularly in this place, is that they will have to prove that it is being sold for that purpose, rather than the police having the onus of proving that that is the purpose for which the equipment is being sold. I do not think that I need to state more about this bill, which I think is fairly straightforward. I have actually gone to educate myself and looked at the items for sale in that shop.

I must admit that I was quite surprised at the obvious purpose for which the items are designed, and certainly agree with the fact that blatantly displaying these items on sale sends a very poor message to young people, who would have the conflict in their own understanding of whether illicit drugs are in fact illegal or softly tolerated by our society. I think that the important message that we send to the community is that these items should be prohibited. Debate adjourned on motion of the Hon. J. Gazzola.

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