2 December 1997

Australia's response to drug trafficking and other drugs-related problems will come under the spotlight at a conference in Brisbane on December 8.

The one-day session at the Customs House is being hosted by the University of Queensland under the banner Drug trafficking and Australian democracy: The search for new directions.

Speakers at the forum will be debating the socio-economic and political effects of drug trafficking in Australia and assessing the effectiveness of the response to date.

Conference convenor Dr Peter Chalk, from the University's Government Department, said he expected some controversial arguments to be aired during the day.

He said that was especially so regarding the usefulness of the continuing law enforcement-dominated response to drugs in this country.

'While members of the police and intelligence community are likely to stress the importance of continuing to deal with drugs as an issue of law and order, I expect others to argue the case for a more comprehensive and innovative approach.'

He said a controversial view of the effectiveness of this country's response to illegal drugs would be given by Dr David Crosbie, Director of the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia.

Dr Chalk also highlighted a number of other key topics being debated at the conference including the basis of the criminal legal system in Australia and the specific problems of heroin, cannabis, amphetamine and cocaine trafficking in South East Asia.

Dr Chalk said the conference would provide vital information to professionals, academics and others involved in the general areas of drug abuse and criminal justice administration.

Drs Crosbie and Chalk are among nine speakers at the conference drawn from the ranks of senior academics and law enforcement officials around the country.

For more information, contact Dr Peter Chalk (telephone 3365 2910).