Controlled Substances (Commercial Offences) Amendment Bill | SPEECH


Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 14 May 2015.)

Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN ( Stuart ) ( 11:10 :58 ): It is a pleasure for me to wholeheartedly support the member for Hartley on the Controlled Substances (Commercial Offences) Amendment Bill. As the member for Hartley has made very clear, this is a recommendation that has come from the Chief Justice and the other two justices of the Supreme Court. This happened well over a year ago and the government has had plenty of opportunity to act on this yet it has chosen not to, and I think it is outstanding that the member for Hartley, with care and interest in his own community, and South Australia more broadly, has brought this private member’s bill forward. He is also legally trained, so he is the right type of person to understand all the implications of what he suggests and, of course, what he suggests is that a series of offences which cannot currently be jointly prosecuted as a recognised crime should be bundled together so that they can be.

The main purpose of that is because it may simplify the pursuit of some criminals, but it will also allow the ability for courts to impose greater sentences on people who are convicted of this law if this recommended change is implemented. I hope we would all be supportive of tougher penalties for people who are involved in the trafficking of drugs. I cannot imagine a member of parliament in any state who would not be supportive, whether it be Liberal, Labor, a minor party, or whoever. We do all want that. The member for Hartley is trying to be sensible and proactive to allow that to happen. As I say, he is proposing something that the court system itself has recommended, so I think that is very important.

I would be very disappointed were the government not to support the member for Hartley in this effort because he is doing what we would all want to do, which is to attack the illegal drug trade. I made an effort last year to try and do that, which the government did not support, and I was very disappointed in that. That was the drug diversion bill which would mean that people who were convicted of fairly minor possession offences could then request, of their own accord, to participate in drug diversion programs, so programs which would essentially re-educate them, and they could make that request as many times as they like.

I fully support people being allowed to improve themselves; essentially, to try and get themselves back on track when they have committed simple and minor offences. To be allowed to do that multiple times—in one case up to 32 times—and to be able to continually ask for one more chance I thought was crazy. I asked the government to limit that to two times, and on the third time they must face a magistrate. That magistrate could, if he or she wanted to, allow further access to drug diversion programs, but the government did not support that.

The member for Hartley is coming from a different angle. I was trying to play a part with regard to addressing essentially the customers of the drug trade; the member for Hartley, to his credit, is directly attacking the trade itself. I think that no opportunity to directly attack the trade itself in a responsible way should be forgone, so I support the member for Hartley, I support this amendment bill, and I hope that all members of this house will do the same.

Debate adjourned on motion of Mr Odenwalder.