Sunday, September 14, 2014

Libertarian Federal MP wants pot in supermarkets, hard drugs available for addicts to break crime rings

CANNABIS should be sold in supermarkets and hard drugs be available from the Government for heroin, cocaine and ice addicts under a federal MP’s radical drug reform plan.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm wants to kill the power of organised crime in Australia by decriminalising drugs, opening up the market and bringing down prices.

Senator Leyonhjelm said while it might not be smart to use marijuana, it was a harmless, non-addictive drug and should be openly available. His party’s philosophy is that if a person is not hurting anyone else, the Government should stay out of their business.

Like in the fruit-and-vegetable industry, farmers should grow cannabis for sale in supermarkets and other shops, he said. And anyone should be able to grow it in their garden.

Senator Leyonhjelm believes the same open slather availability could be possible for party drugs, such as ecstasy, as long as it can be proven the only real risk is to the person taking it.

“I’m not saying they’re safe, I don’t recommend them, advise them, endorse them, no,” he said. “All I’m really saying is it’s an individual, adult choice.”

For hardcore, addictive drugs, the NSW politician suggests the Government stop wasting millions on chasing crime gangs peddling drugs and peddle them itself.

Under a “harm minimisation” model, registered addicts would get replacement drugs, such as methadone or “other options”, erasing the need to pay up big to criminals.

In the days of legal opium smoking, people lived their whole lives addicted to heroin, he said. “Because supply was never restricted, they lived a normal life and they functioned quite well.”

He said while being an addict was “not ideal”, it wasn’t destructive until you added in the desperate behaviour of scoring a fix.


Alan Jones compares Muslims to bikies and says Aussie kids know more about Koran than their own country

SHOCK jock Alan Jones left no stone unturned into attacking the Muslim community when he spoke at a senior citizens luncheon in Sydney, stating those in “religious gangs’’ should be treated like bikies.

The 2GB host went on to suggest children in schools know more about the Koran than Australian history and urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to criminally investigate anyone who travels to countries where terrorists operate.

Mr Jones was speaking at the Rotary Club of Beecroft’s annual Seniors and Retirees Luncheon which is a fundraising event for their charity work.

It began with Mr Jones singing Que Sera Sera on stage with Epping State Liberal MP Greg Smith and the Rotary Club’s Dianna Hammond.

He covered a variety of topics from climate change to rugby but kept coming back to Islam.

“You won’t get a better person than Tony Abbott,’’ Mr Jones said. “He says Islamic State are a death cult. Why don’t we say that? I’m not saying all Muslims are terrorists but I tell you, most terrorists are Muslim.

“We have bikie legislation where they are outlawed. Well this mob in Western Sydney are a religious gang. Why don’t we get in and go after them?’’

He said in the “current climate’’ Mr Abbott should nominate a list of overseas states and if an Australian travelled there, they should become the subject of a criminal investigation.

“This is where Abbott has been magnificent,’’ Mr Jones said. “I think it’s part of his Jesuits training. He’s led the world and said that Islamic State practice evil.’’

Mr Jones then moved on to the education system and its flaws.

“I’ve got little kids saying to me they want to talk about climate change,’’ he said. “They can tell you about multiculturalism, about Muslims and the Koran but they can’t tell you where Mackay is or who Bourke and Wills are. They don’t know anything about their own country.’’

The theme of Mr Jones’ speech was how the world is split into builders and wreckers. He described Mr Smith, who will step down from parliament at the next election, as a builder who was knocked down because he stuck his head up.

He also spoke about working for former prime minister Malcolm Fraser, who has been highly critical of the Federal Government’s asylum seeker policy. Mr Jones described him as an “Easter Island figure” with the “personality of a dial tone’’.

Mr Jones received the widest support when he spoke about this generation needing an “attitudinal change’’.

“Don’t be preoccupied with what I can take, but what I can give,’’ he said. “The most selfish thing you can do is give because you feel so good.’’


The proposed referendum on indigenous constitutional recognition is in serious trouble

Why we need a new referendum escapes me.  The 1967 constitutional referendum has already recognized Aborigines and empowered the Federal government to legislate on their behalf

THE proposed referendum on indigenous constitutional recognition is in serious trouble, with fundamental differences over the core principle now threatening the prospect of bipartisanship.

Tony Abbott’s statement to The Weekend Australian rejecting the push to turn the referendum into a constitutional guarantee of racial non-discrimination is belated but vital. Any such notion would doom the referendum.

The risk is that Abbott’s referendum idea is being hijacked. Abbott, busy with the budget and external crises, must urgently shape this debate before it is ruine­d by false dreams.

Bill Shorten, in his speech at the Garma Festival last month, seemed to endorse “banning racis­m in our Constitution”, with an implied endorsement of a new section 116A in the Constitution as recommended by the 2012 expert panel. This provision is the kiss of death. There is no prospect this idea will be passed by the Abbott cabinet. It would be a dead duck in the Coalition partyroom. It has no traction with the conservative voting constituency. It would be rejected by large sections of the public. It would turn a referendum supposed to be about indigenous constitutional recognition into a referendum on another subject: a constitutional guarantee of racial non-discrimination, a subject that runs far beyond indigenous issues.

Given the Opposition Leader’s misjudgment, he faces two options: either retreat from his section 116A flirtation or see Coalition-Labor bipartisanship ruined, with no prospect of a successful referendum. Abbott would only put a proposal that has a real prospect of success.

With the Prime Minister saying any referendum with a constitutional anti-discrimination rights charter “will fail”, Abbott has laid down a non-negotiable marker. It is not before time.

Indigenous leaders have invested great hopes for this referendum but it only works if the proposal unifies the nation and meets Abbott’s test of “completing the Constitution”, not transforming the Constitution.

The latter is not the answer.

It would tie the referendum into the divisive issue of a constitutional charter of rights, rejected by the Rudd government several years ago. It would provoke another round in the long-running row over whether rights should be given constitutional expression, an issue long opposed by the Coalition and prominent Labor figures.

The 2012 expert committee proposed an extremely wide-ranging new section 116A, saying that neither the commonwealth, nor a state or territory, could discriminate on “grounds of race, colour or ethnic national origin”.

This runs far beyond indigenous issues. It would give judges immense new authority to make policy. It would invite litigation in a range of areas from a range of groups. It would divide the nation.

It would create an absurdity — a constitutional guarantee of rights on a racial and ethnic basis but not on grounds of sex, age or disability.


Time-limits the alternative to waiting times for the dole

Among the most controversial of the measures announced in the May budget was the move to deny 15 to 29-year-olds access to unemployment benefits for up to six months.

This waiting period would be subject to a discount of one month for every full time equivalent year worked to a maximum of five months. There would also be a six month cycle-on cycle-off period over a year.

The Abbott government has thus far not had much luck convincing the crucial crossbench senators of the merits of this scheme, which has been characterised as 'punishing' the jobless for being out of work.

The policy is about reform rather than budget cuts, as it is only estimated to save $1.2 billion over four years. It is mainly about hassling the under-30s to find work. There is some evidence to suggest that periods of joblessness early in life can have a scarring effect on people's future work prospects.

About 60% of recipients of Youth Allowance Other (the payment for 15 to 21-year-olds) have been unemployed for twelve months or more, even though people in this age bracket are aided in job search by youth wage rates. (In general, though, minimum wage rates are a barrier to employment.)

But, there are other policies the government could consider to address youth joblessness.

A CIS report last year detailed how more and more people on unemployment benefits are not required to look for work. Current policy settings mean young people without a Year 12 or equivalent qualification are not required to look for work as a condition of receiving payment. Making job search mandatory as part of the activity test for Youth Allowance Other is a good idea and one that could receive crossbench support.

The Abbott government has also proposed new 'earn or learn' measures to push young people into education and training schemes in order to retain the dole. However, this merely kicks the can down the road and means taxpayers subsidise expensive training courses that fail to produce the desired outcome. Work by CIS Senior Fellow Peter Saunders has shown that education and training are not very effective at increasing job prospects, except for a select few.

Instead of 'more training', the government should consider implementing time limits on Youth Allowance and Newstart for under-30s as an alternative to a waiting period. This would still keep assistance available to those who simply need time to find work. But it would also be clear that this assistance is strictly short-term and intended to assist with a transition to work.

Long-term welfare reliance among youth is a serious problem. Given the cross-bench hostility to waiting times for the dole, alternatives are needed. Time-limits on the dole may be more politically palatable as well, because rather than penalising those out of work, they simply encourage the unemployed to hurry up and get a job.


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