Decision Maker

Senator Richard Di Natale

  • Leader of the Australian Greens

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Petitioning Chris Bowen, Greg Hunt, Scott Morrison, Senator Richard Di Natale

#FixDansLaw: Help make medicinal cannabis accessible and affordable for Australians

Seven years ago, hundreds of thousands of compassionate Australians helped legalise medicinal cannabis to relieve the suffering of patients like my son, Dan, but despite this win, politicians failed us. On his deathbed, Dan asked me to keep fighting until all patients that needed access could achieve it, so here I am in 2023, coming up to Dan’s 8th death anniversary, still trying to fulfill that promise. The previous Coalition government regulated medicinal cannabis via the Special Access Scheme which meant that it was tightly controlled, access was restricted and full costs were to be borne by the patient. I’m calling on the new Labor government to help us #FixDansLaw by launching a three-year pilot program of the Compassionate Access Scheme, Compass, for patients unable to afford medicinal cannabis for serious conditions. All those years ago when we campaigned for change along with the support of 400,000 Austrlaians, it led to a positive cross-party bill that recognised that cannabis was worthy of a special set of regulatory controls. But the Coalition government threw out that bill and chose to amend the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967, putting it in the approved-yet-unapproved pigeonhole. The legislation that was passed seven years ago does not equate to access for many thousands of Australian patients. Right now, medicinal cannabis is a medicine for the wealthy. This new program will help address what the Coalition government failed to address: cost and affordability of medicinal cannabis. There are many other dilemmas that have plagued patients from the outset. They do require a renewal of commitment from the Labor Party and a willingness to engage with the community to create meaningful change for genuine patients.  When I first began lobbying politicians to legalise medicinal cannabis back in 2014, it was because I had witnessed first-hand just how much cannabis was relieving the suffering of my 24-year-old son who was dying from stage-four bowel cancer. My own perceptions of the harms and value of cannabis were conflicted as a nurse and mother, yet seeing Dan gain some long-lost quality of life has inspired me to continue this advocacy. We have had to battle every step of the way to remove red tape, educate and advocate for patients. To help spread awareness, we are launching the Medicinal Cannabis Awareness Week on February 20 - 7 years since legalisation and 8 years since Dan’s death. Please sign and share this petition to join the movement. ---- The 24th February 2019 marked the fourth anniversary of the death from bowel cancer of my beautiful 25-year-old son Dan Haslam - and is the third anniversary of the legislative changes we believed would make medicinal cannabis available to all sick Australians who needed it.  When it was passed, they called it 'Dan's Law'. After years of campaigning, backed by this petition which at the time was signed by over 250,000 people, I was so proud. Dan wasn't beside me, but he was with me. But now I'm angry and bitterly disappointed. Why? Because the medicinal cannabis system kickstarted by Dan's Law is a mess. Rather than making things easier, the legislative changes of 2016 which were supposed to make cannabis and cannabis products available to sick Australians have barely improved matters at all. Only around 2000 people have been able to legally access medicinal cannabis. Patients still struggle to obtain such medicines legally while a huge black market has developed servicing hundreds of thousands of people.   The products supplied by this illicit market are of course of unknown quality and safety, completely illegal and are being used without medical supervision, placing thousands of sick people in harm’s way. But it gets even worse. A knock-on of the 2016 Dan's Law legislation has been that medicinal cannabis and other cannabis products fall into a state of permanent ‘regulatory limbo’. They are – quite literally ‘approved unapproved medicines’. And the TGA, which approves new medicines in Australia, is simply ill-prepared to assess medicinal cannabis. Dan’s Law was put in place to legalise the cultivation of medicinal cannabis in Australia. But was it all for nothing? That's why I'm therefore re-starting this petition and asking for your help to fix the medicinal cannabis mess.  Please, sign and share this petition and help me honour my son's life and hard work. What we have now is an insult to his memory, and leaves hundreds of thousands of chronically and terminally ill Australians in unnecessary pain.  #FixDansLaw 

Lucy Haslam
439,259 supporters
Petitioning Bill Shorten, Senator Richard Di Natale, Bill Shorten, Richard Di Natale

I know what it's like to be young and homeless. Young people need affordable housing

My name is Hayley and I’ve been in and out of homelessness since I was 14 years old.    I know people often wonder about how people become homeless, or how they stay homeless for such a long time. I’m here to tell you a bit about my story. When you’ve had such fractured relationships since childhood, it’s hard not to allow those relationships to negatively affect you as a person. Coming from really volatile environments, you get used to being treated badly and being manipulated. I had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like for the first 20 years of my life. I had never had a healthy relationship with anybody, especially myself. I walked around with a chip on my shoulder, I can admit that. So much shit had happened to me and I was sour. I acted out because there was so much going on inside of me. Once you get a house and start to seem settled, you’re never settled. When you are able to actually stop being hypervigilant after dealing with a lot of trauma, that’s honestly when you start feeling everything and that’s the point where I think people need the most support. That’s the point where you can crash. At first being in my own home was overwhelming, because it all hits you that you’re an adult and you have to take responsibility. The main thing that motivated me to move forwards in my life was thinking, “I’m not going to let what happened to me ruin the rest of my life.” That was my driver. I am not going to be scared because of my past. I’ve had a lot of support from my social worker and I’ve needed it. I want people to see people for who they are, not their stereotype. I want you to know who I am now. Proper housing means getting on with your life. We need more housing that’s affordable for people in my situation. A home gives you hope, stability, a sense of self and the chance to straighten up your life without having to move all the time. I want our government to commit to more public and community housing in Australia. Please help by signing my petition. Young people who become homeless really need housing they can afford, but also ongoing support so they can stay housed.

Hayley Van Summeren
62,158 supporters