Has the Liberal Party run up the white flag on illegal drugs?
Instead of opposing the establishment of heroin injecting rooms, the Victorian Liberals are now trying to broker an accommodation with Labor and the Greens that would see the harmful facilities become a permanent fixture of life in Victoria.
It’s ironic that in the week the Albanese Government has announced the banning of recreational vaping that the Liberals are happy to join the Labor-Green hypocrisy in allowing recreational heroin use at permanent government-funded centres.
Politicians of all stripes have also given up on trying to stop recreational Marijuana use, but don’t get caught with a flavoured vape.
Labor’s Andrews government foolishly established a “trial” heroin injecting facility in North Richmond five years ago, compounding their folly by locating it next door to a primary school.
It’s been a disaster and the community is demanding the “missing pages” of a government report which says “nothing to see here” be released.
Richmond West children have been forced to witness anti-social behaviour and at least one person has died outside the centre, within meters of the school’s entrance, of an overdose.
Residents and parents are up in arms and don’t believe the government’s spin about its supposed benefits.
Instead of opposing Labor’s legislation to make the Richmond facility permanent, the Liberals moved a motion to ensure future injecting rooms are 250 meters from schools, childcare and community facilities.
How that would protect children and residents from witnessing drug deals and bodies going down is anyone’s guess.
Just like pill testing at music festivals, politicians have given up the fight to protect young people from illegal drugs by interdiction and rehabilitation and now facilitate their use.
You can’t vape, but the government will test your teenager’s E-pill and open the door to a place where he or she can stick a needle containing a hyper addictive substance in their arm.
Maintaining people in harmful addictions by co-opting police and doctors to act against their instincts is where weak politicians, led by the ideologues of the radical left, have landed.
Politicians forget that the iron law of public policy is what they allow, society gets more of.
It might sound great to supervise someone’s habit of shooting up with a highly addictive and harmful substance, but the reality is more young people will be encouraged to take this dangerous path with the green light of government sanction.
Instead of doing the hard stuff, politicians claim they can contain vice such as drugs and prostitution with tight regulation. You can’t stop it so legalise it and everything will be fine, is the argument.
That false promise is playing out in real time in Queensland where the then Beattie Government said in the early 2000s that a small regime of tightly regulated legal brothels would be where the legalisation of prostitution would end. Full stop.
Fast forward to 2023 and the Palaszczuk government has just announced full decriminalisation. Like a starving Oliver Twist, criminal activity legalised by government always comes back asking for more.
Policing illegal drugs and prostitution is hard. So is policing murder. None of these things can be completely eradicated but neither should they be green-lighted by the government.
Law in the Western tradition was never meant to be just the big stick. Its role has always been educative.
The law, conceived through democratic deliberation, represents what society believes to be for the flourishing of humans.
Legalising activities that harm humans, particularly young people, only leads to the expansion and growth of pain and misery.
The Liberals are naïve to think a law that puts a drug injecting room 251 meters away from a childcare centre will solve the problem of kids seeing people shooting up and dying in the streets.
They are naïve to think maintaining people in their addictions is the answer instead of using the full force of the law to limit and discourage illegal drug taking.
The only winners are the criminal gangs who supply the poor addicts encouraged by the government’s support of their de-humanising habit.
So-called “moderate” Liberals feel free to break ranks with Peter Dutton on the party’s agreed opposition to the Voice, but where are the conservative Victorian Liberals speaking out against the party’s support of heroin injecting rooms?
This is another reason why Family First is re-building. The Labor, Liberal, Teal and Green quad of Australian politics have abandoned what mums and dads want – a civil society with a functioning police and medical service that discourages vice and helps get those who struggle out of their addictions, not maintain them in them.
As former Howard Government minister Gary Hardgrave told Peta Credlin on Sky News this week, “the Victorian Liberals need to put some cement in their coffee”.