Where do the other parties stand on Cannabis sativa or other illegal substances? Well, here’s a quick rundown in the run-up to the 2022 Federal Election.
The next Federal Election will be held on 21 May, 2022. “On a date determined by the Governor-General, upon request by the Government … At each full federal election you will typically be provided with two ballot papers … to vote for a member for your local House of Representatives division and for Senators in your state or territory”, (AEC)
You could start by contacting your federal member and the other party representatives in your electorate and asking them. Start the conversation, but beware, as some may need educating or re-educating. However, being proactive is preferable to being reactive so now’s the time to start and make sure your federal representative/s know cannabis re-legalisation IS an important issue, at a federal level.
AEC Current Register of political parties (Updated: 12 May, 2022)
Animal Justice Party Kindness | Equality | Rationality | Non-Violence
February, 2022 – “Draft position – AJP supports decriminalising”
September, 2021 – Don’t support cannabis
2019 – Anti-cannabis
September 2021 – Views drug abuse as a health issue. Ensure drug laws are based on best available scientific evidence. Prevent or minimise harms associated with use of licit and illicit drugs.
2022 – “We’re definitely in favour of the legalisation of medicinal cannabis, from a health perspective, all for its approval and regulated use in medicinal applications where the medical and scientific evidence supports it. For recreational cannabis we’ve not settled on a position yet, we need to do more research and see where the evidence leads us. Medicinal cannabis was very straightforward as research is ongoing … into its efficacy. If the evidence supports its use, then the medical fraternity will go through the usual process of implementing it into guidelines and evidence based practice, but there’s no such pathway for recreational cannabis unfortunately” …
May, 2022 – Open-minded about recreational, but do not have a specific policy position … “In regard to medicinal cannabis, there have been many promising research studies indicating a benefit for medicinal cannabis in specific indications. If medicinal cannabis is to become widely available, we need to invest more into high-quality research that proves the medicinal claims surrounding cannabis use”. The party described the barriers to prescribing medicinal cannabis as “unreasonable” given its legal status, and said it would “like to see medicinal cannabis made more accessible for those who need it” … On driving, greater investment in technology to detect impairment for cannabis users should be made available. Anyone impaired “should not be behind the wheel of a vehicle”.
A legal and regulated market is a safer market … plan to regulate, tax and legalise cannabis … A criminal framework for the use of cannabis has failed and made Australians less safe. An evidence based, health first approach is what the community needs more than ever.
May, 2022 – Legalise it. “The greatest harm from Australia’s current cannabis laws comes from the police, courts and jails that criminalise users”. The futile war on drugs has been an expensive failure and empowered organised crime yet done nothing to prevent use. “The reality is that many people in our community use cannabis and our health-based approach meets that reality. By legalising cannabis, we can establish a regulated industry which will raise A$4.4 billion … can be used to build schools, hospitals and help with the recovery of the climate catastrophe”. Improving the testing for drug impairment would be a “priority”.
Australian Labor Party (ALP)
November, 2021 – In support of medicinal cannabis only. No public policy mention of cannabis in party mandate. State members, Queensland/NSW, publicly called for decriminalisation; some for legalisation. Official party line isn’t legalising.
May, 2022 – Typically support use as a medicine, and have a non-committal view of recreational use, stressing the latter is a state issue. It told ABC Vote Compass – “Labor supports the use of medical cannabis regulated at the federal level, but considers the legalisation of recreational cannabis as a matter for state and territory jurisdictions” … Albanese said that while he would not be taking advantage of the ACT’s relaxed approach to personal use in Canberra, “common sense” was needed. “We’ll see how that all plays out [in the ACT], but we do need to have a bit more common sense to some of these issues. So much is used for law enforcement [and] that’s money that’s taken away from things that matter far more”.
End the “War on Drugs”. Transition the Australian Government from viewing drugs as a criminal issue, to a health-centred focus for people with drug addiction and recreational users.
May, 2022 – Described cannabis as “one of the most over-regulated plants”, and branded restrictions placed on medicinal cannabis in particular as “unworkable and unnecessary”. “[We should] shift the conversation around drugs from a criminal issue to a health issue. For cannabis specifically, Australian Progressives proudly support moving towards legalisation for recreational purposes, and a strong emphasis on researching and developing the medical capabilities of cannabis”.
Australian Values Party
April, 2022 – Clarified if elected to a seat (on the crossbench) they would support a bill / proposal to legalise cannabis; decriminalise and create a regulated supply chain for personal users; hemp industry is completely different and should already be legal; support medicinal cannabis, “Know the power of this medicine if taken in ways to support the person best”.
May, 2022 – “All for a citizen-initiated referendum process” to discuss cannabis issues rather than leaving it to political parties to decide in isolation … “Absolutely open” to decriminalising and has “seen the positive effects of this at the human and economic levels of society”. A key focus is reform of current driving rules. They need to be “standardised per the requirements for opioids”.
September, 2021 – Primarily a health issue, rather than a criminal issue, with well funded rehabilitation programs – including mandatory rehabilitation in certain circumstances … allow authorities to rapidly and simply seize assets of those involved in trafficking and distribution. MP Rebekha Sharkie spoke in support of a medicinal cannabis bill, February 2021 and believes medicinal cannabis should be included in the PBS.
(former Wallabies [Rugby Union] Captain), registered 18 March, 2022
“We Need New Voices In Politics That Stand Up For Their Communities And Our Shared Future. That’s why I’m running as an independent for the Senate at this year’s federal election”.
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
“Derryn is on the record as supporting cannabis legalisation”
May, 2022 – No formal policy on cannabis. Hinch has spoken passionately (in the past) about the need and rights of Australians to access medicinal cannabis and backed an idea by a former Greens leader to establish a cannabis agency and legalise more broadly. “I think it’s ridiculous watching big burley cops with guns … arresting plants. We could get rid of the budget deficit in two minutes by legalising ‘marijuana’”.
May, 2022 – Anti-corruption as its single issue and, as such, has no fixed cannabis policy.
FUSION: Science, Pirate, Secular, Climate Emergency
April, 2022 – Provisionally supports decriminalisation and market regulation of all controlled substances. “Prohibition has failed to minimise harms to individuals, communities and the economy”. Proposes a model of harm minimisation based on Portugal, where decriminalisation has provided net benefits to society as a whole … model includes no advertising of relevant substances and tax revenue resulting. Supports legalisation, controlled and excised much the same way alcohol is, shifting issues from police and courts to Health Care, reducing opportunities for police corruption and underworld violence, as well as quality control and alleviating many social ills created by classifying specific substances as illicit.
(merger of Science Party, Pirate Party, Secular Party, Vote Planet and Climate Change Justice Party).
May, 2022 – Supports legalisation of cannabis, regulated and excised in much the same way as alcohol. With regard to drug-driving laws specifically, “Clear that the current regulatory model will need to be amended to account for cannabis usage being detectable well after the effects have ceased”. Proposes a model of harm minimisation similar to that of Portugal, where it said decriminalisation has provided “net benefits to society as a whole”.
Indigenous – Aboriginal Party of Australia
January, 2022 – “We only concentrate on Indigenous matters, as these always get pushed to the bottom of the pile in Canberra. Therefore we have no position on cannabis”.
Informed Medical Options Party
2019 – No official policy on cannabis at this stage. Support sustainable green energy, natural therapies, including medicinal cannabis, and believe everyone has the right to live a happy, healthy lifestyle, free from coercion. Access to cannabis for medicinal purposes is of utmost importance to many families … as well as adults suffering from an ever growing list of chronic illnesses.
Jacqui Lambie Network
Party has policies to address the problems facing everyday Tasmanians in accessing medicinal cannabis and believes it should be a doctor/patient issue, not a political/bureaucratic issue.
May, 2022 – “The Jacqui Lambie Network believes that the best people to make medical decisions are the patient and their doctor. Not politicians, and not bureaucrats. Around the world, millions of people and their medical carers have successfully mitigated the ill-effects of a vast range of ailments with the responsible use of medical cannabis. Australian governments have been derelict in their duty to provide a cheap, effective framework for the use of medicinal cannabis. They have deliberately stalled and obstructed progress in order to prevent patients from finding relief from this treatment. The Jacqui Lambie Network will ensure that these roadblocks are removed and that patients can access medicinal cannabis in a manner that is safe, affordable and effective”.
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP)
“Tougher Drug Laws”
November, 2021 – Bob Katter not pro-legalisation; joked in parliament, “I didn’t know marijuana was legal in Canberra and I can now understand why the country has gone to pot”.
Legalise Cannabis Australia (formerly HEMP Party)
“Legalisation – Cannabis should be available to anyone who needs it”.
Has a number of policies around legalising and regulating cannabis for personal use, industrial use and medicinal use.
Liberal Democratic Party (Liberal Democrats)
May, 2022 – Support legalising recreational use and are in favour of the “least restrictive model” possible, with minimal tax … While conceding some regulation is necessary – particularly around under 18s – it should be as “light as possible and take an educational, rather than punitive approach” … If a doctor regards cannabis as the best remedy for a patient, they should be free to prescribe it without the “bureaucratic nightmare” that currently exists. In the event of a tax on recreational cannabis, the party believe medical users should be exempt. “We don’t believe it is necessary to levy a new tax on cannabis. The revenue the government would receive from GST on the sale of cannabis would still be significant” … Drug-driving laws should be based around impairment, not merely the existence of THC in a driver’s saliva or blood. “This would apply to both recreational and medicinal users”.
Liberal Party of Australia
2019 – Anti-cannabis.
November 2021 – Conservative view on drug policy, including cannabis; should remain illicit/illegal drug. Has policies around deporting drug dealers. Endorsed research on medicinal cannabis through TGA, since removed all references and specific policies regarding cannabis. Health Monster Hunt told ABC Radio cannabis presents a “significant mental health risk”. PM ScoMo has joked he “won’t be partaking”.
May, 2022 – Retiring Health Monster Hunt could not have been clearer in his response to a petition last year callng for THC and CBD to be down scheduled and legalised. “The government does not support any measure that could imply that illicit drugs are safe or may increase their availability or consumption” he wrote. “As such, it does not support the legalisation, decriminalisation and/or use of any quantity of illicit drugs. The use of any illicit drug in any quantity is a high-risk activity and has the potential to cause significant health, social and economic harms”. He also claimed that while “many Australians may view cannabis as harmless”, 20% of Australia’s drug and alcohol treatment services are being provided to people who say cannabis is their “principal drug of concern”.
National Party of Australia
November, 2021 – Rely on more conservative policies. Party line is thought to be “no” to decriminalisation and “no” to legalisation, but “yes” to medicinal cannabis, heavily regulated through the TGA.
May, 2022 – Leader Barnaby Joyce has, on occasion, locked horns with advocates of medicinal cannabis, despite supporting its legalisation in 2016. In 2019, at a screening of medicinal cannabis documentary High as Mike, Joyce referred to his brother, who had died from cancer, angrily rejecting the notion cannabis could have helped. “I don’t want someone suggesting there was some grand elixir that we somehow missed” he said. Joyce’s attitude triggered a sharp rebuff from Lucy Haslam who accused the politician of trivialising her son’s death and belittling others who receive benefit from medicinal cannabis. In 2016, he had supported Haslam in her fight for medical legalisation, saying: “When you can find a use for any part of a plant that can assist people when they are ill, when they are in pain, you should do it”.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
2019 – Anti-cannabis except for pHARMa. Party has stated, “One Nation upholds the right of Australians to access medical cannabis, that may give them quality of life and life itself”. However, it has a history of blocking motions like the 2017 bid to fast-track medicinal cannabis for the terminally ill.
May, 2022 – Not made explicit mention of recreational cannabis in its policy documents, but said it recognises that “whole-plant medicinal cannabis continues to act as a natural proven alternative for chronic pain relief and other serious health symptoms”. Hanson has previously voiced her objection to legalising cannabis and even rejected the term “recreational”. “Sport is recreational, smoking marijuana is not”.
Advocates for cannabis to be legalised, regulated and taxed
May, 2022 – Leader Fiona Patten MP has a strong history of advocating for reforms to medicinal and recreational cannabis laws. To that end, the party supports the creation of a regulated legal market for adult use, and a public plebiscite, albeit one held in conjunction with a general election to “reduce the cost of conducting [it]”. Supports access to medicinal cannabis for a range of health conditions under the treatment of a qualified healthcare professional. It branded the current system “confusing” and “unaffordable” with too many people with chronic health conditions denied the treatment they need. “Reason supports reform to drug-driving laws to introduce impairment testing for medicinal cannabis. In the absence of this reform, Reason supports exemptions for people using medicinal cannabis”.
April, 2022 – Decriminalise drugs and public drunkenness.
May, 2022 – Supports legalising cannabis and the decriminalisation of “all recreational drugs”. “We have a history of supporting grassroots campaigns for legalising cannabis”. A public vote is hardly necessary given the “high level of public support for legalisation of cannabis. Politicians should act on that by passing legalisation that decriminalises and legalises the use of cannabis for recreational and medical purposes”. On roadside testing, given that other prescription drugs are often exempt from prosecution, “it would seem reasonable that medical cannabis has an exemption”.
Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment / Corruption
September, 2021 – Treat personal drug use and abuse as primarily a health issue and support users with well-funded rehabilitation programs. Empower elected MPs to support legalisation of Cannabis.
TNL (The New Liberals)
March, 2022 – “We support decriminalisation of drugs”.
May, 2022 – Have a no-nonsense policy concerning recreational cannabis. Legalise it. Access to medical cannabis should be made easier. “A person on a prescribed drug needs to be aware of the risks of driving and if there is a risk, don’t drive”. Only in an emergency should medicinal cannabis users be exempt if they test positive to a roadside test.
The Great Australian Party (GAP)
April, 2022 – “As someone whose wife went through cancer and as someone who has personally witnessed amazing results for a range of illness and disease, let me shout this loudly, ‘I support it!’ … my wife’s treatment … included a combination of (mostly) THC and CBD. What I want is a ‘Ministry of Wellness’ in Australia that supports native medicines and alternative therapies, such as western medicine, for those that choose them. One size does truly not fit all”. Jason Myles, GAP
The Local Party of Australia
March, 2022 – “We are a network of independents. Leanne Minshull (running for the Senate) and Anna Bateman (running in the seat of Franklin, Tas.) are 100% for decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis”. Other individuals will need to be contacted, individually.
14 December, 2021 – Will be raised with party executive and any resulting policy position posted on UAP’s website.
April, 2022 – “Opposed to cannabis reform”, UAP Candidate
May, 2022 – Clive Palmer has previously ridiculed the Greens for what he called the party’s desire to “see all Australians on the dole freely smoking marijuana”, suggesting that he is not exactly a fan of legalising recreational use.
List updated 18 May, 2022
The below colour-coded table is a handy ‘quick guide’ to the stance of other parties
with regard to Senate candidates in all states and both territories.
Legalisation is obviously GREEN. Decriminalisation is YELLOW.
Medical/pHARMa Only is ORANGE. Against is RED.
FEDERAL SENATE PARTIES STANCE, CANNABIS LAW REFORM (I) Incumbent
|NEW SOUTH WALES||QUEENSLAND||VICTORIA||SOUTH AUSTRALIA|
|Animal Justice||Animal Justice||Animal Justice||Animal Justice|
|Australian Values||Australian Values||Australian Values||Citizens Party|
|Citizens Party||Citizens Party||Citizens Party||Democratic Alliance|
|Federal ICAC Now||Democrats||Derryn Hinch’s Justice||Federation|
|Fusion||Federal ICAC Now||Federation||Fusion|
|Great Australian Party||Federation||Fusion||Great Australian Party|
|Greens||Fusion||Great Australian Party||Greens|
|Independent/s||Great Australian Party||Greens (I)x1||Independent/s (I)x1|
|Indigenous-Aboriginal Party||Greens||Independent/s||Informed Medical Options|
|Informed Medical Options||Independent/s (incl Katter)||Informed Medical Options||Labor (I)x2|
|Labor (I)x2||Indigenous-Aboriginal Party||Labor||Legalise Cannabis|
|Legalise Cannabis||Informed Medical Options||Legalise Cannabis||Liberal (I)x2|
|Liberal Democrats||Labor (I)x2||Liberal Democrats||Liberal Democrats|
|Liberal National (I)x2||Legalise Cannabis||Liberal National (I)x2||Local Party|
|New Liberals||Liberal Democrats||One Nation||Nationals|
|One Nation||Liberal National (I)x3||Progressives||One Nation|
|Reason||New Liberals||Reason||Rex Patrick Team (I)x1|
|Seniors United||One Nation (I)x1||Shooters Fishers Farmers||Sustainable Australia|
|Shooters Fishers Farmers||Reason||Socialist Alliance||United Australia|
|Socialist Alliance||Socialist Alliance||Sustainable Australia|
|Sustainable Australia||Sustainable Australia||United Australia|
|United Australia||United Australia||Victorian Socialists|
|Animal Justice||Animal Justice||Animal Justice||Citizens Party|
|Australian Christians||Federation||David Pocock||Country Liberal|
|Australian Values||Greens (I)x1||Greens||Great Australian Party|
|Democrats||Informed Medical Options||Informed Medical Options||Labor (I)x1|
|Federal ICAC Now||Jacqui Lambie Network||Kim for Canberra||Legalise Cannabis|
|Federation||Labor (I)x3||Labor (I)x1||Liberal Democrats|
|Fusion||Legalise Cannabis||Legalise Cannabis||Sustainable Australia|
|Great Australian Party||Liberal (I)x2||Liberal (I)x1||United Australia|
|Independent/s||Local Party||Sustainable Australia|
|Informed Medical Options||One Nation||United Australia|
|Labor (I)x3||Shooters Fishers Farmers|
|Legalise Cannabis||Sustainable Australia|
|Liberal (I)x2||United Australia|
|United Australia||Medical (pHARMa ONLY)|
|Western Australia Party||Against|
6 May, 2022