Moderator of Uniting Church NSW & ACT Calls for Political Courage

This article contains quotes from the Sydney Morning Herald, for which it reached the front page. Credit to Caitlin Fitzsimmons. You can read the article on their website here.

The Uniting Church was in the media once again this week, with New Moderator of the Uniting Church in NSW and the ACT Faaimata Havea Hiliau featured on the front page of the Sydney morning herald, calling for courage on drug reform, and to bring decriminalisation to the table at the promised drug summit.

Rev. Hilliau called on the Premier to keep his election promise for a drug summit, and for it to be done as a matter of urgency.

“Everything, including decriminalisation, must be on the table,” she said.

Recently, Chris Minns made the choice to go against the experts and ruled out decriminalisation in his first term of government, and has also ruled out drug checking ahead of the summer festival season. This goes against voices from within his own party such as Youth and Homelessness Minister Rose Jackson, who has said NSW is lagging behind other states and should join the “nationwide movement” to pill testing and evidence-based drug policy.

Reverend Simon Hansford, outgoing Moderator, echoed the disappointment in the Government’s response.

“We would have preferred to see more courage from the current state government … especially when they were talking so enthusiastically in opposition,” Hansford said.

“We understand the vicissitudes of politics, but especially when the previous government had shown some inclination towards some progressive policies, I would have thought now’s the time to move in that direction.”

Rev. Hilliau called on the government to understand the drug summit as a matter of urgency- stating that “People who are experiencing drug dependency and their families can’t afford to wait years for meaningful policy reform and change.” The drug summit provides an opportunity to hear stories and evidence from experts, families and those with lived experience, and hopefully “embolden MPs to take action”.

She said what we all know- our current drug laws in NSW are falling behind, and they cause our society harm. This harm is felt the strongest for our young people, our First Nations people, and our disadvantaged communities.

We need to hold our government accountable- write to your Local MP to let them know we need a drug summit next year, and decriminalisation needs to be considered.