Media Release: 3rd April, 2012: New national and rational debate on drug laws? Count the Democrats in!

New national and rational debate on drug laws?

Count the Democrats in!

The Australian Democrats are excited to be endorsing the release of a high-level report from Australia 21 which calls for the reopening of a national debate about the regulation and control of drug use.

National President, Darren Churchill, says it will take a mature response from mainstream media outlets to allow the science to be heard.

“This debate must not be a platform for scare-mongering, nor should it be fuelled by five second media grabs.

“We owe it to the 400 young Australians who die every year from drug-related causes to debate this issue on scientific merits, not on fear and misinformation,” said Mr Churchill.

The call for this debate, coming from former politicians, such as Michael Wooldridge and newly-appointed Senator Bob Carr, and the former head of the Australian Federal Police, Mick Palmer, follows on from last year’s Global Commission on Drug Policy which pulled no punches in declaring that the “War on Drugs” has failed.

“There is a huge irony in so many Australian states introducing legislation to curtail bikies, while at the same time deliberately pushing the control of illicit drugs into their hands. If these drugs are as dangerous as some would have us believe then the control of their manufacture and distribution should be in the hands of governments.

“With such huge profits to be made from illicit drugs, their control by organised crime opens the door to police corruption.

“Like Australia 21, the Australian Democrats understand the fears that parents have about risks illicit drugs might pose to their children. But if we can have an open and honest debate, those fears will be put to rest.

“They need to know that the vast majority of drug harm in Australia comes from the legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and some doctor-prescribed drugs.

“Most of our sitting politicians are frightened of taking on this issue for fear of a media campaign against them, so it is the retired law-makers and law-enforcers, the doctors and the scientists who will have to lead this campaign.

“It will take time, but eventually reason will win, and today’s announcement is a great start” said Mr Churchill.

DARREN CHURCHILL

National President

darren.churchill@democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

3rd April, 2012

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