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Statement on Australian Capital Territory Dangerous Drugs Bill 2023

Despite the Senate reaffirming the rights of our community to govern itself last year, hours upon hours are still spent in the Senate defending against repeated attacks on Territory Rights from Senator Cash, Senator Canavan and their colleagues.

This is despite their ACT colleague, leader of the Canberra Liberals, Elizabeth Lee, requesting the Senate respect the rights of the territory. 

These attacks are a disservice not only to Canberrans but to the entire nation, who rightfully expect that senators are bringing the views of their states and territories to the table in consideration of national policies.

I have, and will continue, to advocate for more transparency from both major parties but I will not support politically-motivated moves that use transparency as a fig leaf for undermining the ACT’s right to self-governance.

By singling out the ACT, we are not hearing the experiences of WA or any other community who may also want to see greater support in their communities for people seeking treatment for addiction.

Alcohol-related deaths have increased for a fourth year in a row across Australia, and the high rate of opiate-related deaths are certainly an issue in the ACT that we should be considering.

If the Coalition is genuine about preventing alcohol and drug-related harms, and supporting people into treatment, then we need to look at the whole picture nationwide, not just single out the ACT for a political purpose.

I would certainly support an inquiry looking at the challenges nationwide, but I can’t support a narrow inquiry intended to politically undermine self-governance of our territory.


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