House debates

Monday, 13 August 2018


Social Services Legislation Amendment (Drug Testing Trial) Bill 2018; Second Reading

6:25 pm

Photo of Julian HillJulian Hill (Bruce, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

Just be honest and admit this is a 'drive up crime' bill. You know it is, Government. The Senate rightly rejected this offensive stunt last year, yet it's back. We have a new minister but no new ideas, just the same failed, bigoted policies. We heard it in question time today. The backbench over there looked appalled. You're still on about the trickle-down economics, you're still about to bring back your racist, bigoted English language test to become a citizen, and now we have this garbage.

I'll just precis my speech from last time this was before the House. Drug addiction is a health issue. It's a health issue. It's a health issue! Addiction must be treated like a health issue, like other health issues. The evidence is clear: making it a moral issue does not help. It might make you feel good in your Liberal partyroom meeting in government, but it doesn't actually help anyone in the community suffering from addiction. Addiction cuts across every class and hits every suburb and every family in this country. Last time I spoke I outlined in deeply personal ways how my family's story in life has been touched by addiction. They're not all my stories to share, and I said as much as I could. I also outlined my experience in my 20s, as the mayor and leader of an inner-city council where the heroin epidemic saw people dying every day, every week around the city, in shops, in front yards, in laneways. The evidence then remains true: criminalising or demonising someone's addiction, whether or not they need income support, doesn't actually help. The Prime Minister's absurd claim that this is a policy born of love is ridiculous, especially with the lack of real funding for rehabilitation.

Once again, I'm left with profoundly unparliamentary words running through my head. It's really bad. If the government keeps serving up reheated, sloppy-seconds legislation, then I'll quote myself:

… ignorant, prejudiced, scuzzbucket, brain-dead moron and bottom feeders. They were the kindest epithets to describe those amongst those opposite who dreamed up this particularly special piece of public policy.

I refer the House to my previous remarks.


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