BRISBANE—Australia's newest and most controversial political party [ever], the Australian Sex Party, has released policy statements on the issues of sex education and drug use. The release of these policies comes as the party ratchets up its campaign to get several of its members elected to office in the upcoming August 21 federal elections.
The details of the party’s drug policy were released Tuesday during a press conference in Sydney attended by Sex Party president Fiona Patten and Paul Wilson, a professor of criminology at Bond University. The move by the Sex Party to introduce what it calls “the most revolutionary drugs policy seen in an Australian election campaign” comes on the heels of recent statistics showing that the prevalence and use of drugs has grown so widespread that prices have fallen to an all-time low in the country.
The party cited the following reforms to current drug laws that it would like to see codified in law:
* Decriminalization, (not legalization) of possession and consumption of all drugs for personal use, such quantity to be defined as an amount equal or less than a 14-day supply for one person.
* Infractions to be treated in an administrative framework and not in the criminal justice system.
* Immediate cessation of the use of drug-sniffer dogs in public areas like streets and parks.
* Legalize and regulate cannabis for specified medical uses.
* Laboratory-quality drug testing stations to be provided at all music festivals and the like.
* Subsidized and high-quality drug-testing kits to be made available through pharmacies, age-restricted premises and mobile distribution centers.
* Legalize and increase the number of medically supervised injecting rooms.
* Legalize the prescription of heroin to registered and habitual users.
* Trafficking and dealing in drugs to remain a criminal offense.
* Supply of any drugs to a minor to be a criminal offense.
Wilson stated that the so-called War on Drugs is not only consuming precious resources needlessly, but has also become hopelessly corrupted.
“Four Royal Commissions have shown strong evidence of widespread corruption in the policing of drugs,” he said. “The total tangible costs of illegal drug abuse for 2004-5 for crime-related activities—police, courts, prisons, violence and insurance—is $3.8 billion which is acknowledged as an ‘under-reported’ figure.”
He added that the 82 percent of drug arrests for possession are a terrible waste of police resources.
“Over 50 percent of police detainees report obtaining illicit drugs prior to their arrest. Tobacco is a legal drug whose use is declining precisely because it is still legal and users are more amenable to government control, education and taxation,” he said.
Patten added that the major Australian political parties have turned their backs on the problem out of fear of a conservative backlash.
“They would rather bury their heads in the sand than face up to a problem at home that is bigger than asylum seekers,” she said. “The absolute failure of governments to deal with drug abuse in Australia is a failure to address the biggest social infrastructure problem that Australia has.”
Wednesday, the Sex Party also announced its proposal for a national sex education curriculum. The party is seeking to replace the government's chaplaincy program in schools with ethics courses and to use the $222 million recently committed by the prime minister to develop a national sex education curriculum.
"There are little or no benefits to the community in teaching religion to schoolchildren," she said. "There are quantifiable benefits in teaching children about sex such as a drop in teenage pregnancy levels, a drop in sexually transmitted diseases, better relationships and tolerance of different sexual preferences."
The five key provisions of the curriculum are:
* To bring about the development of a national sex education curriculum providing comprehensive, accurate, developmentally appropriate information from kindergarten to final school year.
* To include information for people of all sexual orientations on issues such as sexual decision-making, emotional aspects of sex, consent, sex and gender diversity, homophobia, assertiveness, respect and peer pressure.
* To remove taboos, shame, isolation about sexuality and gender identity, and help young people make safe, proud, respectful and informed choices.
* To employ a holistic approach towards eliminating gender based harm and sexual violence and reducing vulnerability to abuse.
* To cater to different learning abilities and methods among students.
A more detailed explanation of the new sex education curriculum can be read here.
Last week, the party also announced two new candidates. Desiree Gibson, 32, and Tim Sheen, 45, will represent the Australian Sex Party on the Queensland Senate ticket. Gibson runs an adult shop in Ipswich and Sheen is a commercial pilot who starred in the 1980s Australian erotic series The Down Under Project.
A complete list of Australian Sex Party candidates can be found here.