I have been involved in politics since my father, Don Chipp founded the Australian Democrats in the late 1970s. He taught me that politics is not about being right per se, but about being involved in a process that arrives at the right decision.
I believe that politics is about governing for the greater good – the greatest good for the greatest number.
I have always considered myself lucky to have been raised on a diet of politics.
Like many ordinary Australians, my family discussed politics at the dinner table where we were encouraged to have an opinion of our own.
I remember when I was 16 discussing whether the philosophies of Machiavelli were amoral or immoral with Malcolm Fraser. I was brash enough to argue with Bob Hawke against the merits of mining uranium. I lost both arguments but learnt some valuable lessons.
The reason I formed Drug Law Reform Australia is that the major parties refuse to address the important problem of Drug Law Reform even though they know it is hurting our children and costing billion every year.
The negative point scoring, intransigence and acrimonious personal insults that have plagued this current parliament is offensive to all people of conscience and an obstacle to good governance. We need political parties of conscience; parties that do not only aspire to government but are willing to contribute to the policy debate in parliament and vote for the good of all Australians.
Enough is enough! Hence we need a new way, a new approach.
I believe that if rational people are committed to solving a problem, have access to the facts and an honest commitment to resolving differences, then it is possible to reach a consensus on the important matter of Drug Law Reform.
Greg can be contacted via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 0417 773372.
Doctor John Sherman
I am a medical doctor specialising in the treatment of heroin dependence.
I’ve spent my professional working life treating and caring for addicts in St Kilda and Footscray.
During this time I have seen the devastating effect of drug dependency on both my patients and their families.
I know firsthand the trauma suffered by families when a loved one develops a drug problem.
In my Footscray clinic we have 1,000 patients on pharmacotherapy substitute opiate therapies like Methadone or Suboxone.
There are 14,000 patients with substance abuse issues in such treatment in Victoria.
I see the problems caused by drugs and am firmly of the belief that the drug prohibition makes a bad situation much worse.
Some of the problems exacerbated by the prohibition are accidental but preventable overdoses, crime, Hepatitis C and HIV infections, sepsis, accidents, suicide and disrupted families.
All this would change with a heroin programme for long term patients for whom all other treatments have failed. As a doctor I could then begin to treat the real underlining problem of addiction and work with patient to pursue a solution.
I believe that injecting rooms would decrease the rate of overdoses and infections and is a common sense option.
I’m running for the Australian Senate, for although these are medical issues, it will take political courage to make real changes that will help protect families and their children.
John can be contacted at email@example.com