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Confidence And Supply Move Threatens Stable Govt.

23 May 2005

Confidence and supply move threatens stable Government

United Future MP Judy Turner today confirmed that her party threatened to vote against the Government on confidence and supply unless it supported a last minute backroom change to the Misuse of Drugs Act, says Green MP Nandor Tanczos.

The change was snuck through under the cover of Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (no 3), which deals with quite separate issues and had no opportunity for comment by the public or the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs.

"United Future have today demonstrated that their oft-repeated claim of being the stable, reasonable guardians of government is a convenient front," said Nandor.

"I said in my minority report in the Select Committee that United Future was prepared to unbalance the entire Misuse of Drugs Act because of their obsession with one drug. Today we've seen that their fetish over cannabis is so great that they're actually prepared to distort Parliamentary process to achieve their ends.

"The late change that Judy Turner has forced through in the Health Select Committee does not affect the contents of the Bill that was actually being considered, it amends separate provisions the existing Misuse of Drugs Act. That is a highly irregular move and an abuse of Parliamentary process and shows contempt for those who submitted on the Bill.

"The sad thing is that Judy Turner and United Future either don't understand the content of the changes they've made or are deliberately misrepresenting them. The Health Select Committee's report on the Bill makes it clear that reclassifying drugs either up or down the scale would have involved Parliament having to vote anyway. While the Greens Support cannabis law reform the changes we propose would always require a separate act of Parliament. She is blind to the fact that her changes primarily affect drugs other than cannabis.

"The changes mean that Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs will now longer be required to give advice based on the evidence in relation to proposed downscaling of a drug's classification, Nandor says.

ENDS

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