Australian Conservatives MLC Dennis Hood says Nick Xenophon’s target of reducing the use of illicit drugs in the community by 50 per cent is not good enough.
Mr Hood said, “It is a good headline but not a good policy. We need to establish zero tolerance for illicit drugs in the community.”
“Firstly, in order to reduce ice usage by 50 per cent we would have to be certain how much is actually out there at the moment and of course no one is certain,” he said.
“The solutions are mandatory rehabilitation for serious addicts and throwing the book at high level dealers and putting them away for a very long time instead of the softly, softly approach applied by the courts when any excuse seems good enough to reduce the sentences,” he continued.
He told radio station FIVEaa, “It’s not about a lack of resources…the real issue I think is a lack of will … or a lack of ticker from the Parliament itself and from the courts because what we see is that when people are convicted of very high level of dealing or trafficking in these awful substances, in many cases the courts give them nothing more than a slap on the wrist.”
Mr Hood went on to quote a couple of instances, “There was one individual who was convicted of a large commercial quantity of trafficking, this is the very top end, this individual was a repeat offender, second offence, and was given a fine in the order of $1500 and no imprisonment – their second suspended sentence. Now $1500 to this individual would be petrol for their Ferrari.”
“You know the maximum penalty for that individual, who got a $1500 fine, the maximum penalty could be a fine of up to $500,000 and/or 25 years in prison so they could get both but they didn’t. You’ve got to make it unfashionable to use this stuff in our community. We’ve done it with smoking, we’ve done it with drink driving, drugs have to be the next one because it really is an enormous problem in our community,” he said.