Is it time to legalise drugs?

Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 07:00 PM

ABC journalist Stan Grant will host a panel of distinguished experts discussing “Is it Time to Legalise Drugs” at the Sydney Wesley Conference Centre on Thursday, June 23.

The Right Honourable Helen Clark, Chair of The Global Commission on Drug Policy, will open the forum via ZOOM, speaking about the Commission’s recent report “Time to End Prohibition”.

The Panel:

  • The Hon. Michael Kirby - former Justice of the High Court
  • The Hon. Bob Carr - former NSW Premier and Foreign Minister
  • Emma Maiden - head of Advocacy at Uniting NSW and ACT
  • Dr Alex Wodak - physician and Chair of Australia21
  • Dr Annie Madden AO - lived experience advocate and Executive Director of Harm Reduction Australia

This panel discussion will be followed by an audience Q&A.

Information Tables from leading AOD Organisations

Get the facts from Australia's leading Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) organisations with stalls providing information about drugs, addiction and their services. Naloxone demonstrations before the forum will show how to administer Naloxone in an overdose emergency and much more.

Books and Pill Testing Kits for Sale

Merchandise, books from authors such as Anthony Loewenstein and Johann Hari as well as Reagent Drug Testing Kits and Fentanyl Testing Strips will be available to purchase on the night.
Come join us at the Wesley Conference Centre, Pitt St Sydney, on June 23rd for a fascinating insight into this urgent issue that's killing young Australians.

This panel will be followed by an audience Q&A, where you can engage with these eminent opinion leaders.

Come join us at the Wesley Conference Centre, Pitt St Sydney, on June 23 for a fascinating insight into this urgent issue that's killing young Australians.

About the Speakers

Stan Grant - Host

Australian Journalist and Writer

Stan Grant is a renowned journalist, who has interviewed some of the world’s most notable leaders. He was formerly ABC’s Global Affairs Indigenous Affairs Analyst and has gone on to write about Indigenous identity within Australia in his bestselling novel Talking To My Country. In 2021, he was appointed the Charles Sturt University vice-chancellor's chair of Australian/Indigenous Belonging.  

The Right Hon. Helen Clark 

Former Prime Minister of New Zealand

Helen Clark was the second female New Zealand Prime Minister and the first woman to lead the United Nations Development Programme. As Commissioner on the Global Commission on Drug Policy Helen will be launching the panel discussion over zoom exploring the recently released “Time to End Prohibition” report by the Commission.

Her work has made strides in advocating for change in the international drug policy agenda on drug prohibition. 

The Hon. Bob Carr

Former NSW Premier and Federal Foreign Minister

Bob Carr is the former NSW Premier. His cabinet introduced Australia’s first medically supervised injecting centre, credited with saving thousands of lives. Bob pioneered the introduction of drug courts and voluntary diversion programs, a strong advocate of harm reduction strategies and safer drug use.  

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG

Former Justice of the High Court

Michael Kirby was a long-time Judge in Australia and remains engaged with universal human rights. Since his judicial retirement, he has taken part in many United Nations activities. He is currently Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. Michael's work convinced him of the need for a radical revision of national and international drug law and policy, to bring this into closer alignment with universal human rights, proportionality and justice.

Emma Maiden

Head of Advocacy at Uniting NSW and ACT

Emma Maiden is the Head of Advocacy at Uniting NSW and ACT and leads their Fair Treatment campaign promoting a compassionate response to drug use. Emma has spoken out about the outdated drug laws and the impacts of civil and criminal sanctions that disadvantage vulnerable populations. She will talk about the Uniting's Fair Treatment Campaign and the recent discussion paper “Possession and Use of Drugs: Options for Changing the Law”.

Dr Annie Madden AO

Lived experience advocate and executive director of Harm Reduction Australia

Dr Annie Madden has focused her professional career on promoting health and human rights for people who inject drugs. Former CEO of the Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) as well as a founding member of Harm Reduction Australia, Annie advocates for evidence-centred health and drug policy and harm reduction. 

Dr Alex Wodak

Physician and Chair of Australia21

Dr Wodak is Chair of Australia21, President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and a former President of the International Harm Reduction Association. He helped establish the first needle syringe programme (1986) and the first medically supervised injecting centre (1999) in Australia when both were pre-legal.

Greg Chipp 

Managing Director of Drug Policy Australia

Greg Chipp has been actively involved in politics and public policy for several decades, beginning with his involvement with the Australian Democrats, a political party founded by his father. After recovering from his own addictions, Greg founded Drug Policy Australia, as a Health Promotion Charity, promoting harm reduction strategies that mitigate the health risks of drug use.

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