Australia Election 2016: Party Positions on Drugs

The Australian federal election will take place on 2 July, 2016. The incumbent prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull of the Liberal/National coalition, will be facing Bill Shorten, the leader of the Labor Party, as well as a host of smaller parties.

Below is a brief guide, produced by SSDP Australia, introducing the varying perspectives on drug policy that each party advocates.

This article was first published by Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Australia. You can read the original here.

Note: SSDP Australia does not endorse any one party, and recognises that there are different approaches to reform.

 

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 advocates the reform of various agencies so that medical cannabis products may eventually be provided.

The Liberal National coalition

In Government, they have maintained support for the National Drug Strategy, and have allocated $241.5 million to treatment servies for the ‘National Ice (methamphetamine) Action Strategy’. They have also passed reforms that favour medical cannabis.

The Australian Sex Party

The sex party believes in the decriminalisation of all drugs for personal possession and use, as well as the expansion of harm reduction services - such as pill testing and drug consumption rooms. They support innovative approaches to justice which focus on restorative justice, as well as incentives to reduce recidivism. They oppose the use of sniffer dogs, and 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 annually to establish best practice and build the evidence-base for wider implementation of harm reduction measures.

Funding grants to state-based peer education programs, such as Victoria’s ‘Dancewize’ programme and the Australia Capital Territory's naloxone programme, would be given priority. The party claims that a national funding body could help facilitate the expansion of suchprogrammes nationally.

The Australian Drug Law Reform Party

The Drug Law Reform Party, which was founded as a response to the failures of prohibition, supports broad reforms. For example:

  • Increasing 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 of regulating other currently illicit substances - including measures akin to 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 solely for cannabis crimes, as well as the removal of all criminal records for cannabis-related convictions.

The Liberal Democratic Party

The ‘Classical Liberal’ philosophy that underpins the party's policies is opposed to state interference in individuals' lives, in particular, the prosecution of people for victimless crimes. They support the legalisation of cannabis for adult recreational use, including cultivation, sale and transportation. In addition, the party advocates and end to the prohibition of agricultural hemp products. The party also supports a review of the prohibition of certain other drugs.