Causes of Crime
Unregulated Ecstasy pills containing who-knows-what. (Images: www.EcstasyData.org)
- Attempting Prohibition: Continuing with attempted prohibition of some drugs results in uncontrolled criminal supply of these dangerous substances.
- Encouraging gambling: Continued heavy support for the gaming industry in general and pokies in particular leads to more problem gambling and more crime. (See gambling page.)
- Lack of early intervention: Research has shown early intervention with at-risk children can substantially reduce the risk of criminal activity later on. Prevention is always better than cure!
- Encouraging alcohol abuse: Advertising controls and taxation of alcohol do not reflect the harm done by this legal drug. We support volumetric taxing of alcohol and curbs on advertising. (See tax pages.)
- Ignoring mental illness: Failure to tackle mental illness and dumping the mentally ill in the community leads to many crimes.
We believe it is possible to halve crime by tackling each of the above.
Controlled Government Sale to Registered Users
Almost half of all crime is caused by alcohol and illicit drug use according to the government's recent National Drug Strategy study.
After four decades of the 'war on drugs' anyone who wants illicit drugs can buy them anywhere - attempted prohibition has again been a total failure.
We supports a state-by-state referendum to seek approval for switching to controlled government sale to registered users.
Countries using Prescribed Heroin
- Switzerland - major success with 70% public support.
- United Kingdom.
- Canada - trials only.
- Belgium - trials only.
Problems with Uncontrolled Criminal Supply
Uncontrolled Criminal Supply is supported by all existing political parties* but causes many problems:
- Uncontrolled Supply: Drugs are supplied to anyone including children and the mentally ill.
- Uncontrolled Quantity: Criminals happy to supply as much as you can pay for.
- Active Promotion: Use of drugs by new and existing users is actively encouraged by suppliers. Very strong incentive to get new users hooked on drugs.
- High Availability: Illicit drugs available throughout Australia including in high security prisons.
- Zero Quality Control: Impurities and concentration of drugs is left to criminal syndicates.
- High Crime Rates: Users often need to commit crimes to pay for the drugs.
- High Corruption: Vast amounts of cash available to corrupt law enforcement personnel and politicians.
- Perceived Needle-stick risk: Used syringes are perceived to present a risk to the general population.
- High Health Risks: Communicable diseases such as HIV, Tuberculosis & Hepatitis can thrive in the addict population if it is closed off from regular health services.
- Making Drugs Harmful: Drugs such as MDMA which are arguably less harmful than alcohol are mixed with toxic chemicals and supplied in a hazardous form because they are illegal.
(* The Greens Drugs, Substance Abuse and Addiction Policy supports limited decriminalisation of some drug use and 'safe' injecting rooms. However, the drugs are still to be supplied by criminal syndicates.)
Controlled Government Sale to Registered Users
Controlled government sale would radically improve the situation, both reducing drug use and reducing the harm inflicted by drugs:
- Controlled Sale: Currently illicit hard drugs (heroin, cocaine, marijuana and possibly some amphetamines) to be sold to proven existing users. All drugs supplied with extensive 'how to quit' information and offers of counselling and rehabilitation.
- Controlled Quantity: Drugs supplied in strictly limited quantities to reduce overdose risks and help ease users off of the drugs.
- Active Discouragement: Government supply agencies continually encourage existing users to quit and does not supply new users. No incentive to get new users hooked on drugs as the user could then just get them from the government.
- Low Availability: Government sale only to registered users. Delivery via registered mail.
- High Quality Control: Manufacture and distribution of all drugs is highly regulated. There are no harmful impurities.
- Low Crime Rates: Price of the drugs set such that most users will not need to commit crimes to pay for the drugs. Crime rates should reduce by up to 50%.
- Low Corruption: Much less corruption with the collapse of the illicit drug trade.
- No needle-stick risk: Only safety syringes would be supplied with injectable drugs.
- Reduced Health Risks: Communicable diseases that exist in today's addict population are brought under increased control as users lives are stabilised.
- Making Drugs Safer: Drugs such as MDMA which are arguably less harmful than alcohol could be supplied to registered 18+ users in a clean, low-dose form.
- Delivery: The most secure way to deliver the drugs to registered users would be by registered mail in anonymous packages. This avoids the need for 'drug shops' to be located throughout the country. The likelihood of interception of drug packages in amongst all the other mail is low and the benefits small as users can get it directly anyway.
- Registration of Users: To be able to buy their drugs from the government supplier they would first need to prove they were already users. A panel of medical and other experts would assess applicants in person.
- Treatment of Prior Drug Offences and Offenders: There would be little point proceeding with the prosecution of suspects for drug offences or the continued detention of drug offenders. Incomplete cases should be dropped and existing offenders should have the remainder of the sentences suspended.
'Safe' Injecting Rooms
The Greens and others support Safe Injecting Rooms on the basis that they have reduced harm to some extent. However, the drugs are still being injected and are still sourced illegally. There are also major problems trying to set up injecting rooms without a major outcry from nearby residents.
Volumetric Taxing of Alcohol
We support volumetric taxing of alcohol. This would greatly increase the price of spirits and cheap, high-alcohol wines while reducing the price of light beer. Overall tax revenue should remain the same. (See our sin tax page).
We also support more restrictions on alcohol advertising.
Cyber Crime Solutions
Internet based crime has become a major issue. Here are some possible solutions:
- All ISP's being required to provide 'free' anti-virus and firewall software bundled with the ISP service. This would be required to be active on any PC connecting to the ISP. The unsophisticated home user would not need any special knowledge to be protected but would just 'click the button' to be connected which would install the appropriate software on their devices.
- Measures to force effective encryption for Wireless connections such as minimum password lengths.
- Tougher laws for accreditation of hardware and software that can be sold to ensure minimum standards of security are met.
It is not good enough to leave these measures up to individuals and the 'free market' as infected devices cab be hijacked and used to attack all internet users.
As much of the malicious traffic comes from overseas cooperation with overseas authorities will continue to be vital.
(The above was supported by a recent parliamentary enquiry. more... )
State Level Solutions
Under the split of responsibilities proposed by
We support early intervention programs, especially those that target disadvantaged families. This would include:
- Free kindergarten, and inclusion of kinder within the mainstream education system for disadvantaged families.
- Education rewards for school children with no working parents. This would take the form of bonus shopping vouchers for academic or sporting achievements and good behaviour at school.
We support 'Task-Based Sentencing' where offenders are sentenced to complete some task rather than serve a specified time in custody. This would see offenders having to complete various courses and programs satisfactorily before they can be released.
This could be in custody or in partial custody. Offenders who don't wish to cooperate would face a much longer stay in custody than those who cooperate and complete the tasks. This would need regular reviews and oversight so that the mentally ill or intellectually disabled don't get some inappropriate task.
As an alternative to full custodial sentences and good behaviour bonds we suggest weekend or after hours detention. Offenders would have to complete rehabilitation tasks in isolation before they can be released.
Death Penalty - opposed
We do not support the death penalty because:
- It is irreversible when you realise you were wrong.
- It leads to increases in acquittals as jury's would be loath to sentence people to death.
- Life in jail is a worse penalty anyway.
Fines should be linked to income and / or wealth.
We support extension of 'plea bargaining' arrangements to try and cut down the time between charging and sentencing defendants. This needs substantial oversight and some means of appeal for both the defendant and the victims of crime.
The Age: Drug Laws
The The Drugs Dilemma: A ongoing series of articles on drug policy. Articles.
Drug Science UK
Up to date information on common drugs. www.drugscience.org.uk.
New drugs emerging
19th Nov 2012: New and dangerous substances are being marketed to Australian's via the Silk Road web site. Most have no testing on humans, and some are known to be toxic to animals. Article.
Decriminalised cannabis and ecstasy
10th Sept 2012: A new report by Australia21 has recommended that registered users be able to buy cannabis and ecstacy from approved suppliers, most likely chemists. Article.
Carr: End war on drugs
3rd Apr 2012: Foreign Minister Bob Carr has joined with a group of other high profile Australians to campaign for an end to the war on drugs: Article.
Australian Heroin Diaries
10th Jan 2011: Terry White's site is dedicated to recognising heroin addiction as a complex medical issue and the need for a scientific heroin trial in Australia. It also aims to highlight the carnage caused by inappropriate drug policies and the ulterior agendas of the people who support them. more...
Secure your PC or else!
22nd June 2010: Australians would be unable to access the internet without having anti-virus and firewall programs installed and a virus-free machine under a new plan put forward by a year-long parliamentary cyber-crime inquiry. more...
Ken Crispin on drugs
27th May 2010: Former Supreme Court judge Ken Crispin reflects on a lifetime in the justice system and calls for an end to prohibition. more...
Better world: Legalise drugs
11th Sep 2009: NewScientist article: 'Far from protecting us and our children, the war on drugs is making the world a much more dangerous place.'. more...
Utterly Mad Drug War
6th Sep 2009: Guardian article on the madness of 'The war on drugs'. more...
Dutch Usage Rates
24th Nov 2008: "...According to data compiled by the
Netherlands' Trimbos Institute for Mental Health and Addiction, after 30 years of the Dutch
tolerance policy, usage rates in the country are somewhere in the middle of international norms -
above those in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, but below those of France, Britain and
the United States." more...
Ports wide open to drugs
5th June 2005: "Drugs worth more than $1 billion have been
from shipping containers since late 2002 even though customs inspected only a tiny fraction of
3 million containers that arrive in Australia each year....seizures could be just the tip of an
iceberg centred around drug trafficking networks able to avoid detection because of limited
searches or rorting of the importation system." more...