Industrial Hemp Bill | SPEECH


Second Reading

Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN ( Stuart ) ( 11:25 :50 ): I also rise to support this bill. I think most people here would know that I am a reasonably cautious person who tries to look at things thoroughly before making a move, but I have to say that I have never had any hesitation about supporting this issue in principle.

This is nothing to do with drugs: this is to do with industry and agriculture and cultivation. The plants that would be used for industrial hemp are not the plants that would be used for drug making or drug taking; they are totally different. In fact, this is a potentially tremendous opportunity for many who operate in agriculture throughout South Australia. Many people in my electorate welcome the potential to grow this crop for these completely aboveboard and constructive purposes.

I would like to give credit to the Hon. Tammy Franks for bringing this issue forward, and I also give credit to all MPs in this parliament because we have reached a bipartisan position on this issue, and I think that is important to recognise. I would also like to acknowledge Dianah Mieglich and Teresa McDowell, particularly Teresa McDowell whom I met and who, by coincidence, is a former Port Augusta resident and very active in this space.

It was terrific to have a couple of opportunities to sit with her as a person who is deeply involved and whose business involves the use of hemp products. She was able to explain to me, in the sort of detail that often MPs can only get from outside Parliament House, how useful this product is. I know that many MPs received briefings from many places and many people, including one that was organised for all of us in Parliament House, but Teresa McDowell’s one-on-one information for me on a couple of occasions was a very big help.

The member for Hammond mentioned Tasmania and the poppy industry there. I lived in Tassie for four years a very long time ago, but I still get back there every now and again. The growing of poppies in Tasmania is completely uncontroversial because, again, it is the growing of poppies for a well-regulated purpose. It is not about making opium for home use, or recreational use or any unregulated use whatsoever.

If you drive around rural areas of Tasmania, you see the regular fence that you would see around any cropping or grazing paddock anywhere else in Australia; the only difference is that it has a sign that says, ‘This is a poppy crop and you cannot enter,’ and everybody understands. If you happened to jump the fence, for whatever reason, and be found, you would have some very serious questions to answer. Guess what? Nobody does it. It is just a crop. I am sure that if we can progress to growing hemp for industrial purposes in parts of South Australia that is exactly how it would eventuate here.

Regulation will be very important. It very important that this is nothing about drugs and it is very important that it seems that this legislation is being supported in a multipartisan way in our parliament, and I certainly personally support it.