Seselja open to Commonwealth overruling ACT drug decriminalisation bill

Dominic Giannini 18 July 2021 55
Zed Seselja

ACT Liberal Senator Zed Seselja had asked the community whether they would support the Commonwealth overruling ACT drug decriminalisation laws. Photo: File.

ACT Senator Zed Seselja has not ruled out using Commonwealth laws to rescind any drug decriminalisation laws passed by the Legislative Assembly.

A four-question survey put out by the Liberal Senator asked ACT residents whether they thought “federal laws should be used to stop decriminalisation of ice and other hard drugs?”

When asked if this question meant Senator Seselja was open to moving a bill to overrule any new laws in the Territory or removing the Territory’s right to legislate on such issues, a spokesperson said the survey was launched “in response to serious concerns raised with him by Canberrans”.

“Canberrans are rightly concerned by the reckless proposal, and as a representative of the ACT Senator Seselja is seeking to better understand those views,” the spokesperson said.

Senator Seselja's questionnaire

The introduction to Senator Zed Seselja’s questionnaire. Image: Screenshot.

The spokesperson called the decriminalisation bill a “shocking plan” that would “decriminalise destructive and harmful drugs such as ice, heroin and MDMA”.

A spokesperson for Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Senator Seselja should be concerning himself with issues that Canberrans want addressed by the Commonwealth Government, including the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, purpose-built quarantine facilities and action on climate change.


READ MORE: Zed Seselja is the worst and that’s great


“Once again, we see Zed Seselja acting as if he is the Opposition Leader in the ACT and interfering in matters being considered by the ACT Legislative Assembly,” the spokesperson said.

The decriminalisation bill is currently before an ACT Legislative Assembly committee. A final report will be handed down in October.

Committee hearings are due to continue in a fortnight on 29 and 30 July.

The comments come as the Senator faces sustained criticisms by Canberrans and members of the ACT Legislative Assembly for not supporting reinstating the Territory’s right to legislate on euthanasia.

Senator Seselja, an opponent to voluntary assisted dying, has previously said he would not support any bill that could be a direct pathway to its legalisation in the ACT.

The issue was reignited by outgoing Northern Territory Senator Sam McMahon who is set to introduce a bill to reinstate the NT’s right to legislate on euthanasia after the Federal Government stripped both territories of the right in 1997.

Senator McMahon said she did not include the ACT in her bill as conversations with Senator Seselja indicated that he was “not keen” on including the ACT in a new territory rights bill.

ACT Labor Senator and former Chief Minister Katy Gallagher accused Senator Seselja of putting his own views ahead of the democratic rights of his constituents.


READ MORE: Gallagher fires shot across Seselja’s bow over euthanasia rights law


Senator Seselja shot back, saying Senator Gallagher was “lying when she claims that I have stood in the way of any senator putting forward a bill which includes the ACT”.

“I have simply been consistent in the position I have taken to every election I have contested.

“If Senator Gallagher is as committed to legalising euthanasia as she claims, there is nothing preventing her from introducing a bill to the senate as all senators are entitled to do.”

Senator Gallagher originally co-sponsored a bill in 2016. A separate bill was voted on to repeal the laws in 2018 and was narrowly defeated 36 to 34 in the Senate.


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55 Responses to Seselja open to Commonwealth overruling ACT drug decriminalisation bill
Ian Gay Ian Gay 11:23 pm 24 Jul 21

"making Canberra's streets even worse" - from an ACT Senator. Righto. Good to know what you think of this place you represent, Zed

Rob Long Rob Long 6:30 pm 22 Jul 21

You simply should not vote liberal

Jude May Jude May 5:07 pm 21 Jul 21

Canberra will be a wonderful place to live once idiots stop voting for this cretin.

JS9 JS9 12:22 pm 20 Jul 21

Without getting into the nitty gritty of the issue itself, that survey he put out was utterly ridiculous in the inherent bias built into the questions. No surprises given its Lord Zed we are talking about, but what it clearly highlighted was how he has zero interest in actually gauging genuine community interest on any topic – he sees his view as the world view, and is solely looking for responses tailored to fit his conservative point of view.

It just reiterates he represents nobody but himself at the end of the day. We’ve got some terribly poor politicians at every level, but he is right up there for the sheer arrogance given his complete unwillingness to actively engage with, and hear the voices of the community. Selective hearing at an extraordinary scale.

    GrumpyMark GrumpyMark 7:00 pm 21 Jul 21

    Stating the bleeding obvious here – but, you seem surprised JS9 … he has never shown any inclination to represent the will of the majority of ACT citizens

Jay Annabel Jay Annabel 11:39 pm 19 Jul 21

And of course he said all this before the last poll didn't he. :/

HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 9:36 pm 19 Jul 21

Looks like a bit of a pattern emerging here.

Rather than this issue-by-issue stuff, Zed might be better to start articulating a broader case about what’s wrong with the ACT model of self-government, and how it could be fixed.

Justin Watson Justin Watson 8:37 pm 19 Jul 21

I really hope the ACT Liberals change their preselection. Given they are in favour of amending the laws to allow the ACT to have the same rights as states do, surely letting someone like Zed represent up federally is against their own policy. It doesn't help them get elected locally either. Just as they've started to realise hat it takes to win an election in Canberra, they really need to cast off the dinosaur that is Zed.

Karen Betts Karen Betts 7:30 pm 19 Jul 21

Go away.

mellsy11 mellsy11 6:56 pm 19 Jul 21

The survey is clearly written to promote fear, particularly for famikies/those with children most likely to feel unsafe with the presentation of information that ‘the lefties are trying to flood the community with drugs…leading to further stigmatization of people who use drugs and stuck in a cycle of addiction with few treatment options available when sought out.
Interesting to note what popular opinion constitutes ‘harmful’ drugs when alcohol and tobacco are the most harmful but legalised and heavily taxed.
Decriminalization will make this a health issue as it should be and channel resources and future funding into treatment rather than continuing the same cycles of incarceration that clearly do not work as we see the ACT prison get fuller and expand to meet needs.
People need help and services need funding, simple as that. Portugal worked…but with backwards liberal like these trying to consistently punish those who need treatment and support, the ACT is at risk of being stuck in the same cycle and the drug problems we see in the community will just grow.
Treatment is cheaper than imprisonment and decriminalization frees up tax payers money in the court system.. .and people with drug issues actually stand a chance at breaking the cycle and becoming productive members of society.

Tom Porter Tom Porter 6:43 pm 19 Jul 21

He was never going to be a power player in ACT politics, so he took the sponge option and became a liberal senator. Now he has undisputed power courteousy of a few thousand votes. Absolutely Larry.

Hans Dimpel Hans Dimpel 6:05 pm 19 Jul 21

he is the least Canberran person I can think of. who voted for this guy?

David Newman David Newman 4:42 pm 19 Jul 21

If he wants to influence ACT legislation, then he should have stayed in the ACT legislature. If he’s in the Senate, then he should keep to Federal politics. It’s pretty simple, after all.

Yvon Nemchinov Yvon Nemchinov 2:23 pm 19 Jul 21

Loving to watch the drug abusers out themselves on public facebook. Take note, prospective employers.

    Martin McMaster Martin McMaster 2:52 pm 19 Jul 21

    That snide remark just outed you as something much worse.

    Justin Watson Justin Watson 8:35 pm 19 Jul 21

    What as opposed to being an idiot thinking doing the same thing over and over for decades will fix a problem? I'd rather a government try something than sit on their hands and lie about how much they are doing.

    Yvon Nemchinov Yvon Nemchinov 11:05 am 20 Jul 21

    Normalising substance abuse is not going to fix anything. If you want to be a substance abusing reprobate, deal with the risk. We don't just legalise things because people break the law constantly. If history is anything to go by, in the ACT we usually ban anything people might consider fun.

Tom Allen Tom Allen 2:17 pm 19 Jul 21

Get up them Zed.

Michael Pettersson MLA Michael Pettersson MLA 2:10 pm 19 Jul 21

If you're up for some fun Senator Seselja is still running his survey. You can find it here: https://us3.list-manage.com/survey?u=d4a76a889d2ea81ae519cef95&id=0a88453f1b&attribution=false

    Yvon Nemchinov Yvon Nemchinov 3:41 pm 19 Jul 21

    It may be more fun for us to call for mandatory drug testing of politicians.

    Matt New Matt New 4:44 pm 19 Jul 21

    Michael Pettersson MLA who wrote that survey?? 😂 Awful, just awful.

    Tom Porter Tom Porter 6:47 pm 19 Jul 21

    Matt New he just wants the email addresses.

    Narelle Ford Narelle Ford 7:06 pm 19 Jul 21

    Tom Porter hard luck for him I added a number that shouldn’t be there to my email address. Gave him our landline number. Our landline doesn’t work.

Nick Swain Nick Swain 2:06 pm 19 Jul 21

Dear Z. Please hands off and let ACT residents have what they strongly want!

Capital Retro Capital Retro 1:48 pm 19 Jul 21

More fuel for the haters.

    GrumpyMark GrumpyMark 6:41 pm 19 Jul 21

    Yes – it’s amazing how often Senatoe Seselja sets himself up for his critics to take pot shots at him … it’s a good thing he has people like you to prop him up

Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 1:42 pm 19 Jul 21

Zed only cares about Zed and his 1950s views.

Voice of Reason Voice of Reason 1:34 pm 19 Jul 21

“Keep the ACT Drug-Free.”

Everyone can see the problem with the first sentence in Seselja’s “survey”, right?

He presents a “drug free” counter-factual for the proposed legislation; that we can either have a “drug free” ACT or we can have decriminalisation. It’s dishonest and manipulative, from the very first sentence. Desperate much?

Alicia Conley Alicia Conley 1:23 pm 19 Jul 21

I really hate the Zed guy.

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