Thursday, August 14, 2003

NT Drug house laws: Sign, sign everywhere a sign...

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, blockin out the scenery, breakin my mind.

Drug Users make Tracks to Australia's Northern Territory.

And the sign said "Long-haired freaky people need not apply." So I tucked my hair up under my hat and I went in to ask him why. He said "You look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you'll do." So I took off my hat, I said "Imagine that, huh! Me workin for you!" Whoa-oh-oh.

Tracks of a different kind will be laid in the Northern Territory of Australia in September as dozens of illicit drug users converge on the city of Darwin for the 2nd Darwin International Syringe Festival.

The Syringe Festival was first held in Darwin in August 2002. The event, organised by the Network Against Prohibition was held as a protest against the Territory's new "drug house" laws that came into effect on August 1 last year, as well as a celebration of drug culture.

"To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in." "If God was here he'd tell you to your face, man, you're some kinda sinner"

The "drug house" laws give the Territory the dubious distinction of having the harshest drug laws in Australia. They enable police to place a sign on the front door of a house they suspect to be a "drug house" and raid it without a warrant whenever they choose. The signs are put up well before anyone has had their day in court, before any findings of guilt by the courts.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Blockin out the scenery, breakin my mind, do this, don't do that can't you read the sign?

This years Syringe Festival includes an art competition and exhibition, a cabaret dinner night for local users, an underground dance party, a community smoke-in and a tour of injustice.

Now, hey you, mister can't you read? You don't have to have a shirt and tie to get a seat. You can even watch you can eat. You supposed to be here. The sign said you don't have to have a membership card to get inside, ugh!

A major part of the Syringe Festival will be the 1st International Conference on Using Direct Action to End the War on Drugs. The conference will focus on different direct action and protest techniques that can be applied to help bring about a swift end to the illegal war on drugs. Delegates from around the world will share their experiences and learn new ways to educate the community of the clear and present danger of the US led approach to illicit drugs.

And the sign said, "everybody welcome. Come in, kneel down and pray." But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all I didn't have a penny to pay.

NAP, the organising body for the Festival and Conference, have been using direct action and protest over the past 18 months to highlight the injustices faced by illicit drug users in the Territory. Actions have included regular community smoke-ins and a peaceful entry into the Territory's Legislative Assembly, an entry that cost five activists hefty jail sentences. These are on appeal.

So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign. I said, "Thank you, Lord for thinkin bout me. I'm alive and doin fine."Wooo!

For further info see our website or call Nicolette at the Syringe Festival office on 61 (0) 8 8942 0570 or 61 (0)418 985 701.

Are you coming the 2nd Darwin International Syringe Festival and 1st International on Using Direct Action to End the War on Drugs?

Darwin 21st to 28th September 2003

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin out the scenery, breakin my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?
Sign, sign, everywhere a sign,
sign, sign, sign...

Brought to you by NAP

From: Gary Meyerhoff
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 15:47:.
NAP Syringe Festival

By Gregory Kable & The 5 Man Electrical Band 14 August 03


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