Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beware a new police state in NSW

David Clarke at home in Cherrybrook,
heart of the hills district bible belt
Photo: Hills Shire Times

Inner city subcultures beware: hard times are a-coming.

I was dismayed this morning to hear that hard-right Christian Liberal prohibitionist David Clarke ha been appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney-General AND head of the Standing Committee on Law and Justice. He had held these positions in the shadow government before the elections. On top of a $17,000 pay rise, this gives him powerful influence over the NSW law and order agenda.

This is where the nice avuncular face of Barry O'Farrell, who supported Clarke in his preselection, gives way to persecution and intolerance. Front and centre will be a crackdown on users of illicit drugs as Clarke is hand-in-glove with a worldwide network of fanatical right-wing Christian prohibitionists who really want to use the law to force everyone else to live like them.

Organisations such as Drug Free Australia (linked to Drug free America) incessantly lobby politicians to get tougher on drugs, wilfully ignoring mountains of evidence showing that prohibition causes more harm than drugs, and stereotyping drug users (other than alcohol, prescription drugs or tobacco, of course) as crazy dysfunctionals as per the film Reefer Madness.

They call for mandatory drug testing and ever-harsher penalties for drug offences. For a taste of what we may face, see Florida USA* which has just brought in mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients (who have to pay for the tests!). Those caught face a year or more without benefits - can you imagine the crime, distress and mayhem that will result from creating a new underclass of unemployed drug users with no income.

But Florida is not the worst state in the USA. Oklahoma has mandatory minimums and up to life sentences for people caught with small amounts of cannabis, and multi-decade sentences for possession are common. The USA imprisons a greater proportion of its citizens than any other country, with drug offences leading the statistics, and ethnic and cultural minorities suffering most.

Unfortunately, and despite the lack of any credible evidence showing that this incarceration rate reduces drug use or harm in the community, I fear David Clarke will lead NSW down the same path.

If he succeeds in his heartfelt desire to toughen drug sentencing, look forward to a rising prison population (including perhaps some of your friends and family) which will mean more prisons. No doubt these will be privately built and run, most likely with contracts ensuring a minimum number of prisoners to shore up the profits.

Thus we will see the tail wagging the dog, a requirement for prisoner numbers driving the law.

Don't underestimate Clarke - he is the numbers man behind all the ugliness in the Liberal Party around branch-stacking to get far-right candidates pre-selected. He seriously wants medieval Christian authoritarianism to underpin our society, and is happy to use state force to bring it about.

One of the chief subcultures to suffer will be the LGBTI community, who live a life despicable to God according to Clarke and his confederates.

These people represent only a tiny minority of Australian society, but have no regard for democratic principle as they enforce what they KNOW is RIGHT.

Watch this space - I have predicted Barry O'Farrell's apparent commitment to allow continuation of the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, something David Clarke pathologically opposes, will come at the price of major trade-offs in law and order. The foundations have now been laid in Clarke's new positions.

* Florida's Tea Party Governor Rick Scott founded a medical centre chain that provides (you guessed it)  drug testing. When he became Governor he handed the $62 million business to his wife. Hey, as long as God is on your side, what's wrong with making money out of it?

No comments: