Plans to establish a national ice hotline for people to dob in drug dealers and the locations of drug labs across the country have been announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
The “Dob in a Dealer” campaign has been given $1 million in funding and is modelled on a similar program run by Crime Stoppers Victoria.
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“[The Victorian program] as I understand it in different parts of the state has resulted in a 100 per cent to 400 per cent increase in information coming in about these drug dealers,” Mr Abbott said.
“Whether it’s overseas at source, whether it’s here on our border, or whether it’s in the community, we need to mobilise against drugs.
“There are no excuses for illegal drugs, no excuses.”
It is the latest Federal Government plan to tackle what it describes as the “growing scourge” of ice, or crystal methamphetamine, use around the county.
“We’re simply talking about giving people more opportunity and encouragement to do the right thing by our community,” Mr Abbott said.
“If you see criminal behaviour taking place, or if you suspect that criminal behaviour is taking place, you have a duty to do what you can.”
Earlier this year, Mr Abbott announced a national ice taskforce to help coordinate and assess local, state and federal government efforts to address the drug, and identify ways to improve education, health and law enforcement.
The Government said dobbing in dealers and ice manufacturers was a vital part of efforts to bust drug manufacturing and distribution.
Mandatory rehab needed: Xenophon
Independent South Australian senator Nick Xenophon said the hotline would not work effectively without mandatory rehabilitation being considered, similar to what was done in Sweden.
“I want more than just a start, I actually want a resolution of this issue,” he said.
“If you want to tackle it effectively, you need to have a system where there is mandatory rehab.
“There ought to be a system in place where [addicts] can be assessed in terms of an intervention.”
Senator Xenophon said drug dealers dobbed in should also have their assets seized if the authorities really wanted to make a dent in supply.
“We need to have a national conversation about extending the proceeds of crime legislation in this country, and that would involve seizing all the assets of the Mr and Ms Bigs of the drug trade in this country.”
The Prime Minister has also foreshadowed more announcements in coming weeks, including legislation dealing with people who have “unexplained wealth” that may be proceeds of crime.
The Federal Opposition said the hotline was a waste of money.
“Any idea that’s designed to improve measures to try and tackle what is a horrible problem, the problem of ice, and to tackle those that are the drug dealers, and those that are profiting from it, is an idea worthy of consideration,” Senator Sam Dastyari said.
“But from the information I’ve seen, this smacks of a desperate stunt from a government looking for distraction.
“I thought there already was a hotline where you dob in a dealer, and that hotline is triple 0 … the police.”
Lambie calls for more parental power
Last week, Independent Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie revealed her son’s ice addiction in a speech to Parliament.
“I am a senator of Australia and I have a 21-year-old son that has a problem with ice, and yet even with my title I have no control over my son,” she said.
“I can’t involuntarily detox my own son, because I am not talking to my son anymore, I’m talking to a drug.
“And I can tell you, I’m not the only parent out there. There is [sic] thousands of us.”
However those calls for mandatory drug treatment were rejected by experts
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