A number of prominent Australians have joined together as part of a campaign calling for an end to the country's war on drugs. The campaign was kicked off last week with the publication of a report from the think tank Australia 21. The report was the product of a meeting of 24 former (and one incumbent) senior Australian politicians and experts on drug policy, which was set up specifically to explore the principles and recommendations made last year by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
Those who participated in the meeting that led to the report include current foreign minister Bob Carr, former New South Wales health minister Michael Wooldridge, former West Australian premier Geoff Gallop, former head of the federal police Mick Palmer, and former New South Wales director of public prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery.
The report generated a huge amount of press attention, being covered on Sky News Australia and discussed in all major Australian newspapers. (For a full list of all the media coverage for the report, see here.)
Due to the level of coverage the report received, Australia's prime minister, Julia Gillard, was forced to issue a formulaic dismissal of its findings, stating: "Drugs kill people, they rip families apart, they destroy lives and we want to see less harm done by drug usage." Although the response of many incumbent politicians echoed Gillard's, the media response was, on the whole, favourable, with a lot of opinion pieces criticising the Australian government's attempts to shut down debate on the issue.