Geraldton Ice Summit
September 30, 2015
I rise to speak on an insidious drug that is tearing
families apart not only in our cities but also in our rural, regional and
remote towns and communities. Of course, the drug I speak of is ice, and I
believe it is the most destructive drug on the illicit market. Good, decent
families in my electorate of Durack are being torn apart by the physical,
mental and behavioural effects this drug has on a member of their
family—sometimes a mother, sometimes a father and sometimes a child, but,
sadly, always a loved member of someone's family. Tragically, these families
are being held together not with government intervention but with love—good old
fashioned love for a family member—although I fear love alone is not going to
save us from the hell of ice.
Former Prime Minister Abbott announced, in April this year,
the establishment of a National Ice Taskforce to develop a National Ice Action
The focus of the task force is to
examine the impact of ice on individuals and communities; examine gaps in our
knowledge of ice; and consider the effects of all levels of government in
Australia to address the problems associated with ice. Last month, the
government announced that we would put aside $1 million to roll out the 'dob in
a dealer' campaign to combat the ice scourge.
This is a good start. This is one of the government's efforts to address
this issue not only in Durack but throughout Australia.
In June this year I hosted an ice summit in Geraldton.
Present were about 50 front-line professionals from health, legal and the
police and other service providers, as was the Assistant Minister for Health,
Fiona Nash. Additionally, about a 100 community members attended the event. The
raw and emotive stories from these community members made this summit an
incredibly heartbreaking occasion. Fathers, mothers, aunts and, sadly,
grandparents, sisters and friends, one by one publicly shared their very
private stories. These brave souls stood before mostly strangers and described
their grief and individual harrowing stories. They were all different stories
but they all had one common thread—the havoc that ice had caused in their lives
and their families. Sadly, most of their stories all came with a deep sense of
shame that ice had been stronger than their family ties.
It is our responsibility as elected representatives to do
all we can to combat this evil drug. We know we simply cannot arrest our way
out of the ice epidemic. What we need is education. We need awareness. We need the
parents to know what a child looks like when they have taken ice. We also need
the right level of health and community support. Our government is playing its
part in that, but I have no doubt we can do more.