Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Statutes Amendment (Drink and Drug Driving) Bill
The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I find it hard to put on the record the extent of my disappointment today. When this house left the debate on this bill, my understanding was that we were going to enter into a deadlock regarding my amendments regarding medical cannabis, and that was to ensure that we could have a nuanced and responsible debate. For whatever reason, I understand that procedure has not been followed. I will not go into detail about that exactly, because I am waiting for some feedback from our very hardworking Clerk on exactly what did occur.
Certainly, what we do know is that just last Friday, the member for Schubert, Mr Knoll, in the other place was seeking my participation in a media segment about the bill and the related amendments. Indeed, he went on to advocate for the rights of medical cannabis users to be able to drive when they were stable and medically safe to do so. Here we are today, Wednesday as it is now, and that support is no longer there.
The Liberal Party has changed its tune, or perhaps deals have been done—I do not really know at this point—because I hear that the bill is due to be brought on and things are moving suspiciously fast. I will say that neither the Labor Party (the government) nor the Liberal opposition have the stomach for this debate, the stomach to stand up for people who are vulnerable and the stomach to stand up for people who are using a legal medical substance in this state.
Since we have legalised it, we do need to move the debate forward, and that is all I was seeking to do. The fact that the government is happy to legalise the use of medical cannabis in this state, but not to provide any actual opportunities for people to continue living their lives while doing that, shows that they are happy to, in some respects, build the walls of a house but not fill it with any furniture and not lay down any foundations. It is deeply disappointing. As it stands, there is no room for that nuanced debate to continue at this point, and I am deeply disappointed by that.
I know that those many constituents who have come to me, not just recently but over the years, seeking some maturity, some guts, from the government and the opposition on this issue, are deeply, deeply disappointed. I think there are some good things that have happened with regard to the powers to search amendments being struck out and rehabilitation no longer being added. I welcome that, but I do not think it is too much to ask, given we have a legal medical treatment in this state, that we have a mature and nuanced debate and one that actually follows proper process, not where deals are done after the fact to railroad that debate. Call me crazy, but I do not think that is too much to ask.
I would like to take this opportunity to deeply apologise to those people who have been let down by the cowardice of not only this government but now also this Liberal opposition. The Liberal opposition can say that they are happy to continue this debate if they win government at the next election, but there are a lot of ifs in that debate and a lot happens during an election campaign. So, I say that I am very sorry to those people who have once again been let down and been railroaded because maybe their issue does not have the lustre or the shine that is appropriate for an election campaign. However, it certainly is a health issue and something we need to future proof and move forward with. I am deeply disappointed and ashamed that we have not taken advantage of that opportunity here today.