On Friday, 12 October, Sir Richard Branson will officially launch a new Uniting Church campaign, calling on governments to reform Australia’s drug legislation to reflect a harm minimisation approach.
The grassroots campaign calls for the decriminalisation of small amounts of currently illegal substances for personal use. The call has been spearheaded by the NSW and ACT Synod of the Uniting Church and Uniting. It is backed by more than 60 organisations, including the Law Society of NSW, the NSW Bar Association, and the NSW branch of the Health Services Union.
Uniting Church NSW/ACT Moderator Rev. Simon Hansford will address the launch event, which takes place at Sydney’s Town Hall.
“Our faith compels us to nurture, support, care and offer hope and life for everybody in our society – especially those who are marginalised or disadvantaged, who are often those most affected by drug policy,” Rev. Hansford will say.
“200,000 Australians per year are currently refused treatment for addiction. That means we are turning away half of those who need it.”
“The Fair Treatment campaign is asking for better outcomes for those people and asking our policy makers to announce a People’s Treatment Summit, bringing together the greatest minds from the sector with those who have lived experience, to help Australia lead the world in treating addiction.”
Uniting’s Doug Taylor previously told The Sydney Morning Herald that the campaign marks, “the first time we’ve really tried to create a broad coalition of organisations to push for a fundamental rethink on drug policy.”
Mr Taylor added that many of the organisations have individually campaigned on the issue.
SBS’ Jan Fran (The Feed) will MC the launch event.
The launch event has ‘sold out’, with 2,000 tickets booked. It will be streamed live on Facebook at 10am.
If Alcohol or Drug Dependency is a problem for you, you can contact the NSW Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 250 015 or online.
Families struggling who want someone to talk to can contact Family Drug Support online or on the Support Line, 1300 368 186
Image by Gulltaggen
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor