Gay marriage

Adults must be free to make their own lifestyle decisions, including marriage, without interference by the government or any need for its approval.

The ACT Liberal Democratic Party:

  1. Believes private sexual activities and lifestyle choices voluntarily undertaken by adults are not matters for government intervention except to prevent coercion and protect children.
  2. Believes marriage is a private matter (assuming informed consent) and should be free from government rules and regulation, with the government’s role limited to providing a register.
  3. Would introduce legislation similar to the ACT Marriage Equality laws at the first opportunity. The ACT Liberal Democrats would periodically re-introduce legislation should the Commonwealth Government decide to continue to block attempts.
  4. Believes those who perform marriages and provide marriage services should be free to discriminate in accordance with their own views of marriage. Our research suggests that there would be a significant number of celebrants willing to provide these services, and our position would avoid curtailing the rights of celebrants who do not wish to provide services that contradict their personal views.
  5. Believes children should be adopted into a loving, stable and safe environment, irrespective of the marital status, gender or any other attributes of the adopters.
  6. Does not support, endorse or recommend any particular sexual preference or lifestyle.

Euthanasia

The ACT Liberal Democratic Party believes adults have a right to end their own lives, with or without assistance, and to have access to information to help them do it.

The ACT Liberal Democrats believe in the inalienable right of individuals to end their lives painlessly, at a time of their choosing, and to be legally able to obtain information and assistance to do so with dignity.

The ACT Liberal Democrats are committed to enacting legislation to allow adults the right to assisted suicide provided there are appropriate safety mechanisms to ensure consent is given freely and confirmed.

We are not ignorant of the practical difficulties in developing this legislation or the risks associated with poor or ineffective safeguards. However, there are many international models that can be considered and upon which legislation could be modelled.

The ACT Liberal Democrats believe that the principle of control over one’s body is the most fundamental expression of individual freedom. If the law prevents rational adults from making free choices about what we can do with our own bodies then we are not really free at all.

When cancer, degenerative disease or some other ailment renders a person’s life no longer worth living, that person should be free to choose to end their lives. The person should be able to escape pain and the tragic indignities of a failing body and die painlessly and peacefully, as medical technology currently permits.

In 1997, with the tacit support of both the Liberal and Labor parties, Kevin Andrews MP succeeded in pushing a private members Bill through Federal Parliament that overturned the first law to legalise assisted suicide in Australia, enacted in the Northern Territory. This is despite opinion polls showing that around 70% of Australians are in favour of some form of voluntary euthanasia.

While most fair-minded people accept that painlessly terminating the suffering of animals is a humane act of compassion (a fact recognised by the law), the law prohibits the application of the same principle to ourselves.

The Liberal Democratic Party, as a party that supports individual rights and freedom of choice, rejects this cruel approach. While we are cognisant that there are federal limitations on the power of the ACT Government, we would be passionate advocates for the rights of ACT citizens on this issue.


Drug use

The ACT Liberal Democratic Party believes adults should be free from government interference when making choices where they do not inflict harm on other, non-consenting individuals.

The ACT Liberal Democrats neither support nor oppose drug use. It considers it to be a matter of choice for responsible adults.

The ACT Liberal Democrats also recognise the right of individuals to choose to not engage with drugs or their users. Restaurants, clubs, hotels and other private establishments where people gather should be free to impose conditions of entry including prohibitions on the use, or being under the influence, of drugs. Similarly, employers should be free to require their employees to refrain from drug use and to implement testing policies as required.

The ACT Liberal Democrats do not believe that personal drug use is a law enforcement issue, nor can it be resolved by “arresting your way out of the problem”. Drug use is a social issue, a health issue and an education issue.

While there are health costs involved in any recreational drug taking activity, marijuana use is already widespread in the ACT and Australia and death, disorders and impairment directly attributable to its use occur at significantly lower rates than for legally available alcohol and tobacco. The ACT Liberal Democrats acknowledge that some in the community may struggle with addiction. Our proposal to legalise marijuana includes provision to redirect funding from savings arising from reducing law enforcement costs towards the provision of treatment of the addiction within the health system.

The ACT Liberal Democrats support:

  1. Legalising the recreational use of marijuana by adults.
  2. Legalising the cultivation, processing, possession, transport and sale of cannabis and its derivative products
  3. Allowing the recommendation of cannabis or its derivatives for medical use by authorised medical practitioners.
  4. Implementing severe penalties for the sale or supply of cannabis or its derivatives to minors.
  5. Implementing penalties for driving while demonstrably impaired by the effect of drug use. Where a technology cannot ensure that a driver has been impaired, it should not be used.
  6. A reduction to the burden on the ratepayer for a law enforcement based approach to drug issues in the community.
  7. Decriminalisation of possession of small amounts of other recreational drugs for personal use.

Gambling

The ACT Liberal Democratic Party neither supports nor opposes gambling. It considers it to be like any other form of entertainment - a matter of choice for responsible adults.

Just as we may turn off the television or decide not to go to a cinema or go bushwalking, we may also leave a casino or not bet on Melbourne Cup Day.

The ACT Liberal Democrat therefore reject the view that the potential hazards of excessive gambling justify the current level of government control of the gaming industry. The rise of mobile technology that allows people to gamble from a hand held device at any time demonstrates just how disproportionate government regulation of the gaming industry really is.

We also believe that government’s current approach to gambling control is inefficient and delivers sub-optimal outcomes to gamblers, non-gamblers and the broader economy. We acknowledge that some members of the community will struggle with gambling addiction, and support the funding of treatment programs that help those affected overcome their problem gambling.

The ACT Liberal Democrats:

  1. Strongly support voluntary exclusion and will seek to increase penalties on licensees that fail to remove persons that have (self-elected to) exclude themselves.
  2. Support the funding of treatment programs for problem gamblers and those affected by the gambling of others.
  3. Propose to strengthen requirements to ensure that minors are not exposed to gambling, specifically poker machines.
  4. Propose to auction poker machine licences and remove restrictions on which (adult clientele) businesses can install them - this includes pubs, clubs and casinos.

Firearms

The ACT Liberal Democratic Party believes that adults should be able to own firearms. Thousands of Canberrans have been appropriately trained in the safe handling and storage of firearms and hold appropriate licences for doing so. The ACT Liberal Democrats believe that illegal gun ownership is a serious issue, and notes that the overwhelming preponderance of firearm crime relates to illegally-owned weapons.

We appreciate that some sections of the community have concerns about firearms and their regulation. The ACT Liberal Democrats propose reforms that improve the safety of the public and licensed firearms users. The ACT Liberal Democrats will advocate for the rights of licensed firearms holders in the same manner we will advocate for those who undertake responsible and safe activities that do not harm others.

The ACT Liberal Democratic Party:

  1. Would bring administrative requirements for licensing a firearm in line with NSW.
  2. Regulate the transport and storage of the smokeless powder used for the reloading of ammunition in the same way it is treated in NSW.
  3. Call for higher standards in the firearms safety course required for AB licenses, the most common form of licence1.
  4. Bring the procedure for police compliance checks into line with NSW.
  5. Allow for a right of appeal in circumstances where licenses have been revoked by the operation of an automatic rule.
  6. Believes that changes to the regulation of firearms should be undertaken in close consultation with the major Shooting Associations.

1. Specifically, we believe that the course should include theory and a hands on shooting element. It should include modules on: holding, aiming and firing a rifle; how to zero the rifle with both iron sights and telescopic sites; an introduction to competition shoots; the dangers of ricochet; conduct at the rifle range; legal rights and responsibilities; the correct rifle for different pursuits; and safe handling practice.