Pubdate: Sat, 22 Dec 2012
Source: Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Copyright: 2012 The Sydney Morning Herald
Author: Brian McConnell
Page: 14


It can be no surprise to anyone that when it comes to drugs, Customs
officers have been corrupted ("Customs staff linked to airport drug
ring", December 20). The easy and plentiful money for facilitating, or
simply turning a blind eye, is the main driver. Policy overhaul needed
. obscene profits mean drugs will always find a way in.

An inquiry, as called for by Fairfax Media, into the corruption alone
will not solve it. While there are huge profits to be made from drugs,
corruption will inevitably continue. The inquiry needed is into the
prohibition policies that have led to the obscene profits that can be
made by illegal crime syndicates and those who aid them.

No matter how determined and how many resources are applied, drugs
will always find a way to enter the country. To realise this one only
has to consider that drugs always find their way into prisons, the
most secure institutions we have. Total prohibition of certain drugs
has created a black market with huge profits that provide the means to
corrupt even the most honest. The laughable plan to change the name of
the Customs internal affairs unit will not prevent the drugs coming
into the country, nor in the long term will increasing the staff of
that unit. And to top it off the federal government believes a culture
change in Customs will solve the problem.

Where a real culture change is needed is at the federal government
level. Politicians have heard evidence repeatedly from experts and
researchers that prohibition causes more problems than it solves and
that a new approach is needed. But governments refuse to discuss the
issues and almost every member of the government and the opposition
has pretended that this elephant is not in the room.

Brian McConnell Higgins (ACT)
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