Animals could be considered ‘sentient beings’ and cannabis legalised this week


The ACT could have two nation leading – and dividing – laws passed by Thursday. Bills to legalise personal use of cannabis and to recognise animals as “sentient beings” will come before ACT Parliament this week. Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson’s cannabis bill will likely go to a final vote and pass on Wednesday. The government will introduce amendments to his bill which would reduce the amount of plants an individual can grow to two from four. It will also seek to keep the existing offences in the criminal code but exempt all adults from them, in a bid to minimise conflicts with Commonwealth law. Meanwhile the government will try to pass tough animal welfare laws on Thursday. They would make the ACT the first jurisdiction to recognise animals as “sentient beings” – meaning they are able to perceive and feel things. Under the proposed laws, owners whose pets had been confined for a full day would face $4000 fines if they didn’t exercise them within the next two hours. The same sanction would apply if pets were not provided with appropriate food, water, shelter or a clean and hygienic living environment. READ MORE: Pet shop owners and kennels would also be required to obtain a licence to operate within six months of the laws passing. The opposition has described the laws as radical and questioned how the government will reconcile the legislation with its kangaroo and deer culls. On Wednesday, Opposition Leader Alistair Coe will call on the government to rule out further increases to costs associated with gas and car use, electricity and property taxes, following the government’s recently released climate change strategy. That strategy encouraged Canberrans to ditch their car and indicated it would phase out natural gas. Opposition transport spokeswoman Candice Burch will again call for the government to fix problems “plaguing” the bus network. Liberal Giulia Jones will push for more appropriate housing for women at the Alexander Maconochie Centre. The opposition says it’s been told female prisoners are frequently subjected to cat-calling, goading and whistling from the surrounding male cellblocks, and at least one detainee has seen her rapist in a nearby cellblock. On Tuesday, the government will introduce legislation to enable the ACT to have a Drug and Alcohol Court up and running. Attorney General Gordon Ramsay says the sentencing option will support high risk and high needs offenders to turn their lives around under a strict reporting and rehabilitation program. “Participating in the [the court] is voluntary and offenders are subject to intensive requirements such as being rigorously supervised and regularly tested,” Attorney General Gordon Ramsay said. “The [court’s] sentencing option will provide both targeted and structured health and justice interventions for offenders and will begin operating at the end of this year. “This initiative will play a key part in the government’s target to reduce recidivism by 25 per cent by 2025 and aligns with the ongoing ‘Building Communities Not Prisons’ initiative.”

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Animals would be recognised as sentient beings in the ACT if proposed laws pass on Thursday.

Animals would be recognised as sentient beings in the ACT if proposed laws pass on Thursday.

Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson’s cannabis bill will likely go to a final vote and pass on Wednesday.

The government will introduce amendments to his bill which would reduce the amount of plants an individual can grow to two from four.

It will also seek to keep the existing offences in the criminal code but exempt all adults from them, in a bid to minimise conflicts with Commonwealth law.

Meanwhile the government will try to pass tough animal welfare laws on Thursday.

They would make the ACT the first jurisdiction to recognise animals as “sentient beings” – meaning they are able to perceive and feel things.

Under the proposed laws, owners whose pets had been confined for a full day would face $4000 fines if they didn’t exercise them within the next two hours.

The same sanction would apply if pets were not provided with appropriate food, water, shelter or a clean and hygienic living environment.

READ MORE:

Pet shop owners and kennels would also be required to obtain a licence to operate within six months of the laws passing.

The opposition has described the laws as radical and questioned how the government will reconcile the legislation with its kangaroo and deer culls.

On Wednesday, Opposition Leader Alistair Coe will call on the government to rule out further increases to costs associated with gas and car use, electricity and property taxes, following the government’s recently released climate change strategy.

That strategy encouraged Canberrans to ditch their car and indicated it would phase out natural gas.

Opposition transport spokeswoman Candice Burch will again call for the government to fix problems “plaguing” the bus network.

Liberal Giulia Jones will push for more appropriate housing for women at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

The opposition says it’s been told female prisoners are frequently subjected to cat-calling, goading and whistling from the surrounding male cellblocks, and at least one detainee has seen her rapist in a nearby cellblock.

On Tuesday, the government will introduce legislation to enable the ACT to have a Drug and Alcohol Court up and running.

Attorney General Gordon Ramsay says the sentencing option will support high risk and high needs offenders to turn their lives around under a strict reporting and rehabilitation program.

“Participating in the [the court] is voluntary and offenders are subject to intensive requirements such as being rigorously supervised and regularly tested,” Attorney General Gordon Ramsay said.

“The [court’s] sentencing option will provide both targeted and structured health and justice interventions for offenders and will begin operating at the end of this year.

“This initiative will play a key part in the government’s target to reduce recidivism by 25 per cent by 2025 and aligns with the ongoing ‘Building Communities Not Prisons’ initiative.”


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