Information on the Federal Election July 2016

Election time is here. There have been some changes to the way our electoral system works that you should familiarise yourself with before voting. This video explains the changes.

SSDP Australia does not endorse any one Party and recognises that there are different approaches to reform and people have different considerations when considering how to vote.

Below are a short summary of some of the drug policy positions of the parties:

The Australian Sex Party

The sex party believes in the decriminalisation of all drugs for person possession and use, the expansion of harm reduction services such as pill testing and drug consumption rooms. They support innovative approaches to justice where the focus is more restorative justice with incentives to reduce recidivism. They oppose the use of sniffer dogs. They support the regulation and taxation of cannabis for personal use.

The Australian Greens

The Greens have announced a new Harm Reduction Innovation Fund that would allocate $10 million each year to establish best practice and build the evidence base for wider implementation.

Funding grants to state based peer education programs such as, Victoria’s ‘Dancewize’ program and the ACT Peer delivered Naloxone program, wold be given priority. A national funding body and the development of national harm reduction accreditation could help facilitate the expansion of these programs interstate. The fund could also be used for measures such as pill testing at festivals.

The Australian Drug Law Reform Party

The Drug Law Reform Party begun as a response to the failures of prohibition and supports broad reforms including;
– Increased funding for harm reduction measures such as drug checking (pill testing) services and safe injecting facilities.
– Allowing politicians a conscience vote on drug policy.
– Regulating and taxing cannabis for recreational use.
– Beginning the process towards regulation of other currently illicit substances, including measures
such as Switzerland’s heroin maintenance program.

The Hemp Party

The Marijuana (HEMP) party has its primary focus on the legalisation of cannabis for personal, recreational, medicinal and industrial use. They also call for the release of all people incarcerated for cannabis crimes alone and the removal of all records of previous cannabis convictions.

The Liberal Democratic Party

The ‘Classical Liberal’ philosophy underpinning the party policies is generally opposed to government interference with people’s lives, in particular the prosecution of people for victimless crimes. They support the re-legalisation of cannabis for adult recreational use, including the cultivation, sale and transportation, in addition to the removal of specific prohibitions on agricultural hemp products. In addition to re-legalising cannabis they support a review into the prohibition on certain other drugs.

The Socialist Alliance Party

The Socialist Alliance Party developed a progressive drug policy before the Federal Election in 2013 which is human rights and health focused. It states that the decriminalisation of currently illicit drugs does not go far enough in securing improvements in the wellbeing of individuals and the community as a whole. Socialist Alliance backs a regulatory framework determined by evidenced-based options, informing that of tightly controlled prescription medication in the case of more harmful drugs to the liberal sale of Cannabis. Socialist Alliance supports the argument of more harm than good coming from prohibitionist policies and advocates for taking control over the lawful distribution of presently banned substances as a way of reducing organised crime. At the same time, the party does not condone the profiteering of drug use in a free market setting and encourages government ownership over manufacturing.

Australian Labor Party

The Australian Labor Party supports the ongoing development and implementation of our national drug strategy. Please also see the draft national drug strategy 2016-2025.

Labor also supports the development of a new national alcohol strategy that includes a focus on evidence based measures to prevent and reduce alcohol related harms, including alcohol related violence. The Labor party supports reforms to various agencies to allow for medical cannabis products to be provided when the evidence and medical opinion support its use. Information on the national platform, pages 112 and 192.

The Liberal National coalition

In Government they have maintained support for the National Drug Strategy. They have also allocated $241.5 million for the ‘national ice action strategy’ to go into treatment services. They have also passed reforms for medical cannabis.

The Alcohol and Other Drug Network of peak bodies has detailed their policy position here for the following election.

The Peaks Network call for federal leadership to:
1. Release each parties’ alcohol and other drug policy statements.
2. Meet with representatives from the Peaks Network, to discuss the alcohol and drug issues impacting the community and the alcohol and other drug sector, and how these can be addressed.
3. Declare its commitment to maintaining the three pillars, urgently revise the draft National Drug Strategy 2016-2025 and make the implementation of a revised strategy a priority for the next term of government.
4. Continue to build on existing funding commitments to address compounding community demand for services.
5. Ensure the design and delivery of all alcohol and other drug initiatives are underpinned by evidence, and broad and effective collaboration.
6. Commit to ensuring any cuts to the Flexible Funds Program do not impact on the alcohol and other drug sector.
7. Ensure its policies and funding commitments promote capacity building, and promote long term planning and sustainability in the alcohol and other drugs sector.

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