Last week, the Victorian Parliament voted to approve a motion moved by Fiona to require that the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee set up a broad-ranging inquiry into drugs in Victoria.
This inquiry will hopefully see some reasonable debate and recommendations about regulating illicit drugs, including recreational marijuana.
She won the motion by a single vote with the Opposition, the Shooters and the DLP all voting against it so it was no easy thing to bring into existence.
In the end she persuaded her fellow cross-bencher, James Purcell, to vote with her and the motion got up – supported by the Greens and the Government. The Greens were surprisingly good and spoke to the motion in a way that Fiona could not. The Opposition’s main criticism was that the motion was too broad and allowed almost anything to do with drugs to be brought up. They said it would take an enormous amount of resources to run. In a way they were right. This will probably be the most wide-ranging parliamentary inquiry on drugs that Australia has seen.
The Right to Lifer, Bernie Finn and the ultra conservative, Inga Paulich both launched strong personal attacks on Fiona. They alleged that she was simply trying to get her own personal agenda on legalising drugs into the system and that her speech was peppered with veiled references to removing prohibition. Fiona of course did not reply to these scurrilous accusations in her final speech commending the motion. ☺
As a couple of Eros Board members had said a few months ago, this would be the most important thing that Fiona could do, from Eros’ perspective. To get it up within the first year is a testament to many things. Firstly, the group consciousness and dynamics that have come to form around Fiona. Eros and the Sex Party are working really well together. But it also says a lot about Fiona’s ability to sniff the wind in there. Her success in moving the abortion exclusion zone Bill before doing this was, in hindsight, critical to the success of the drugs inquiry. It gave the government confidence in her ability to pick winners and to prepare the groundwork for big picture issues. Ditto her successful amendment to take X rated films out of the child porn debate. It’s all about timing in there and forging successful alliances.
There are many things that the Committee will investigate including the use of roadside drug tests, the use of sniffer dogs at events, the lack of a regulatory scheme around new psychoactive substances and social tonics and the benefits of setting up a regulatory scheme for the sale of recreational cannabis. Eros members are all invited to make their own personal submissions as individuals but also as business operators.
We will send through details of how this can be done when the terms of reference for the Committee are published.