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Monday, 30 November 2015
Page: 14203


Ms MARINO (ForrestChief Government Whip) (12:35): I commend the member for Dobell for this motion and for her extensive work in her electorate. As a member of parliament since 2007, I have rarely heard anything as dreadful as that personal attack on her by the member for Throsby. The way it was delivered really, really disappointed me, particularly on an issue as critical as ice. I apologise to you, member for Dobell, for the way that that was delivered and for what happened afterwards. I apologise to you because that is the last thing I want to see in our parliament, especially on an issue such as ice. The impact of the illicit drug trade on Australian society cannot be underestimated. It causes immeasurable harm. That is why the member for Dobell has moved this motion. I do not trivialise this for one moment and I certainly would not attack someone for raising this issue.

According to the National Drug Strategy, illegal drugs cost our nation $58.2 billion annually. However, as so many of us here know only too well, it is not only in monetary terms that we need to consider and manage the impact of illicit drugs on the Australian community. Numbers, like statistics, require assumptions and are open to interpretation. But the impact of drugs on individuals, their families and their communities does not. That is the exact point the member for Dobell was making.

The destruction of families and individuals dealing with addiction is often hidden, as we know when we talk to people in our communities. The families suffer enormous trauma. It has a deep and lasting impact on the whole family and friends. There is illness and death for the addict. The spouse, the children and the parents of the addict spend endless hours waiting, worrying and wondering whether they will get through another day. I meet them all the time in my electorate as part of my ice forum. That is why this matter needs to be taken seriously. It is not about politics; this is serious.

One of the most notable things about the ice epidemic is the number of older people who are taking up the habit. They are 30 or 35 years of age, well educated and in professional careers. They are people you would assume would automatically know better and would be immune from this scourge. It has a major impact on the whole family as well as on the individual's life and professional career.

Like the member for Dobell, I have been actively engaged on this issue, particularly around methamphetamine. When you are in your community you know why, when we come here and make serious speeches on a serious issue, it needs to be taken seriously by all sides of this House. I have seen the effects on our volunteer and emergency services people—St John Ambulance and in emergency departments—and most recently I have seen the effects of ice on individuals. In my electorate, in the ice forum, we heard that some of them are too frightened to go home and fearful for their personal safety. We heard from those suffering the financial burden and we heard from recovered addicts telling their stories and how to help others. We heard from the community professionals, including the WA police, on how best to manage the issue and how they themselves need assistance. So anything that we can do in this space, as the member for Dobell is doing, should be commended. I have set up a support group for the families most affected by the drugs. They talk to each other; they support each other. It is a simple way of trying to help each other through what is a dreadful time. You have to live it to know it, and those families know it every day.

Member for Dobell, this is a very good motion. The more we can bring focus to this issue and highlight the challenges facing families and individuals, the better. I commend you for this motion. The National Ice Taskforce members have been working hard in six areas: targeting primary prevention; improving access to early intervention, treatment and support services; supporting local communities—as we know, it affects the whole community; providing tools for front-line workers; taking law enforcement actions; and improving and consolidating research and data. Great job, Member for Dobell. I am very pleased to support your motion.