20 September, 2021
The Legalise Cannabis Party has announced it will run a candidate in the seat of Fowler at the Federal election to draw attention to Senator Kristina Keneally’s opposition to cannabis law reform.
Senator Keneally went on the offensive last year following reports that the NSW Government was considering decriminalisation of small amounts of drugs. During an interview with radio station 2GB, she voiced her concern at the rate of decriminalisation of drugs around the world, taking particular aim at cannabis arguing that decriminalisation would send the wrong message.
“We found it incredibly disappointing that a senior Labor figure would come out and slap down a commonsense approach from the NSW Liberal government”, said Gail Hester, Legalise Cannabis NSW Party Secretary. “There was hope that the Berejiklian government would implement some of the findings from the Inquiry into Ice but that was dashed following the pile-on which included Ms Keneally”.
“I wonder if the senator is going to survey the voters of Fowler about drug law reform? Having been parachuted in over a candidate with deep local community ties, I doubt she has a good knowledge of what the community she aims to represent really feel about this issue – or any other issue for that matter”
“The senator is in front of the media every day saying we need to listen to the experts,” Gail Hester continued. “Well, it’s high time she did the same. She needs to take a step back and listen to the experts who all agree that criminalisation of low-level drug use leads to extensive harm”.
According to the last census the median income of residents living in Fowler is well below the national average. The electorate is also one of the most culturally diverse in NSW and includes the suburbs of Bonnyrigg, Liverpool and Cabramatta.
People of ethnic backgrounds and from poorer households are disproportionately affected by drug laws.
The Legalise Cannabis Party is the newest force on the Australian political landscape. The recent West Australian state election saw two Legalise Cannabis candidates elected to the Legislative Council and the party ran candidates in over a dozen seats at the Queensland election.
At the Federal level the cannabis vote has traditionally belonged to the HEMP Party. The 2019 election saw it go head-to-head against the Palmer United Party to take the mantle of the biggest of the small parties. HEMP spent $ 4,000 vs Palmer’s $ 40 million. At its recent AGM, HEMP members voted overwhelmingly to join forces with the Legalise Cannabis Party and will contest the Federal election as Legalise Cannabis Australia.
The party has also formally commenced the registration process with the NSW Electoral Commission to ensure it is on the ballot at the next state election and is undergoing the same process in Victoria for the November 2022 state poll.