Shane's News from the Assembly (July 31)

As you may know, last week I released draft legislation that would make medicinal cannabis available to alleviate the suffering of patients who are terminally ill or in chronic pain.

The ACT Greens have long supported the science behind medicinal cannabis, and believe that people who are sick and dying should have access to treatment without fear of criminal sanction.

 In other parts of the world, medicinal cannabis is prescribed and administered by doctors just like any other medication. A poll conducted only last week shows that almost 66% of Australians support changing the law to allow sick people to use cannabis for medical purposes. I have received many emails and letters in the short time since I released the draft legislation, and it is clear that the community has welcomed discussion of this issue and is ready to support the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.

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Growing support for legalisation of medical cannabis

 Almost 66% of Australians support the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes according to a recent 7News/ReachTEL National poll said ACT Greens MLA, Shane Rattenbury.

 “The poll, conducted on 21 July 2014, surveyed over 3000 Australians and shows that not only is public support for medical use of cannabis growing rapidly, it cuts across party lines. (See link to survey results)

 “69.9% of Labor supporters polled support the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes, along with 56.6% of Liberal National Party supporters.  The highest support came from Greens supporters, with 79.4% in favour of legalisation.

 “The public discussions about the medicinal use of cannabis are ongoing, and I am encouraged by the level of debate and discussion that happening at all levels of our community.

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Legislation to Legalise Medicinal Cannabis

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury has released exposure draft legislation for consultation, and a discussion paper, to legalise medical cannabis. Mr Rattenbury says the legislation will allow people who are sick or dying to access treatment without risking criminal sanction.

 “I have heard from people who are suffering from chronic pain, who are dying, or who are watching a friend or family member suffer without relief. This legislation is for them – it’s about showing them compassion, and removing the threat of criminal sanction.

 “Almost seventy percent of Australians support legalising cannabis for medical purposes. As the community’s understanding of the medical evidence grows, so too has their support for legalising medical cannabis so that the sick and dying can have access to pain and symptom relief.

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Shane's News from the Assembly (July 17)

Sadly, on Thursday, as you probably heard, the Abbott Government repealed the price on carbon – Australia’s most systematic climate change reform. While we knew it was coming, the reality of the moment was shocking. Nonetheless I know that in the face of this setback a new generation of activists – both old and young – will be inspired to stand up for real climate action, and the Greens will never stop standing up for the future of our children.

As you will know the introduction of a 6th ACT Minister has led to a reshuffle of portfolios. Read my reflections on the Greens’ legacy in Housing and future opportunities.

Last week I was pleased to welcome the Auditor-General, Ombudsman and members of the ACT Electoral Commission as officers of the ACT Legislative Assembly, delivering on another Greens’ integrity reform and Parliamentary Agreement item.

Next week I will be hosting an event with Canberra Friends of Dili on environmental campaigning and permaculture in Timor-Leste, featuring activist and troubadour Ego Lemos. Find out more and RSVP here.

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Peak Oil Event with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury and Greens Senator for WA Scott Ludlam will host ACT Peak Oil event ‘Sleepwalking to an oil shock’ tomorrow evening at the ACT Legislative Assembly.

 The ACT Greens, and the Greens at all levels of politics, have advocated for the development of a peak oil strategy to transition our communities away from our current unsustainable reliance on oil.



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Greens Deliver on Integrity Reform

ACT Greens Member for Molonglo, Shane Rattenbury, today welcomed the formal induction of the Auditor-General, Ombudsman and members of the ACT Electoral Commission as officers of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

 “Last year the Greens presented a bill to recognise the auditor-general, ombudsman and the members of the Electoral Commission as officers of the Assembly as part of a suite of governance and integrity reforms the Greens committed to deliver,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“I am pleased today that we have fulfilled the Parliamentary Agreement Item requiring that oversight bodies are responsible to the Parliament, not to the executive.

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Some Big Changes at the Assembly

Today Chief Minister Katy Gallagher announced the new Assembly arrangements as a result of the introduction of the ACT Assembly's sixth Minister. This means portfolios were re-allocated to spread the workload more evenly between the Ministers.

She made the announcement at midday, but I wanted to let you know my initial thoughts on the changes to my portfolios.

I am no longer Minister for Housing. That’s the first piece of big news.

The ACT Greens have done an enormous amount of work over the last twenty years to build up social housing as a cornerstone of Canberra’s community. And, it was privilege 18 months ago to become the Minister for an area that Greens like Kerrie Tucker, Deb Foskey and Amanda Bresnan did so much to advance.

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Proud of housing progress and looking forward to new opportunities

Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury today welcomed the opportunity to connect with the Canberra community through the Sport and Recreation portfolio, and expressed his confidence that the ACT Government would continue to prioritise developing more and better public housing.

 “The past 18 months as Minister for Housing have been a privilege and incredibly rewarding. Public housing is an important part of the fabric of Canberra neighbourhoods. I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate Housing ACT for their important work supporting over 30,000 tenants,” said Mr Rattenbury.

 “It’s been inspiring to work with the community sector to develop new and innovative responses to the issue of housing affordability, and to start the process of developing the ACT Government’s first strategic plan for community housing.

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This week I spoke out against proposed changes to the Electoral Act which will result in a financial windfall for the big parties at the expense of our democracy.

The early designs have just been released for Capital Metro light rail. Find out more and have your say on the first stage of this exciting project.

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