Top News

parliament house in the evening. canberra, australia

Cannabis remains a hot-button issue in Australia, and the country's political parties have diverse opinions. Here's a look at what they think.

Cannabis reform at a national level still seems far off for Australians, but what do each of the country's major political parties think about the drug?

At the time of publication, the Australian federal parliament had members in the House of Representatives from nine political parties, and senators from nine political parties as well.

Let's look at what Australia's four major political parties think about cannabis, followed by a brief overview of the minor parties in power. We'll also run through the cannabis-specific political parties not currently elected.


Australian Liberal Party

The Australian Liberal Party is in power right now, and it has a conservative view on drug policy, including cannabis, which it believes should remain on the illicit and illegal drug list. The party also has policies around deporting drug dealers. Although it has endorsed research on medicinal cannabis through the Therapeutics Goods Association (TGA), it has since removed all references and specific policies regarding cannabis from its platform.

Current Health Minister Greg Hunt has expressed concern over the Australian Capital Territory's decision to legalise cannabis given that it directly conflicts with federal law. He previously told ABC Radio Melbourne that cannabis presents a "significant mental health risk."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has joked that he "won't be partaking" in cannabis. He was also unmoved by activists from the Who Are We Hurting campaign who delivered a pound of weed to Kirribilli House on April 20, 2020, and then brought AU$420,000 in crisp green AU$100 bills to Parliament House on the same date in 2021.

Australian Labour Party

The stance from the Australian Labour Party is in support of medicinal cannabis only. Similar to the Australian Liberal Party, there is no public policy mention of cannabis or marijuana in the Australian Labour Party's mandate.

State members in Queensland and New South Wales have publicly called for the decriminalisation of cannabis, with some going so far as to call for legalisation; however, at this stage the official party line isn't pushing for legalising.

The Nationals

Running on a platform that focuses on rural Australian communities and agriculture, the Nationals often rely on more conservative policies. As part of a coalition government with the Australian Liberal Party, the party line for the Nationals is thought to be aligned as "no" to decriminalisation and "no" to legalisation, but "yes" to medicinal cannabis that is heavily regulated through the TGA.

Australian Greens

The Australian Greens have been proudly (and loudly) lobbying for cannabis legalisation for many years as a major policy. The current party line is to legalise the production, sale and use of cannabis and cannabis products for recreational use, whilst regulating growth and possession for personal and medicinal use.

Minor parties in the House of Representatives

  • Centre Alliance — Member of Parliament Rebekha Sharkie spoke in support of a medicinal cannabis bill in February 2021 and believes medicinal cannabis should be included in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
  • Independent — There are no public policies available for members of parliament Helen Haines, Zali Steggall or Andrew Wilkie, although Wilkie was the major push behind legalising hemp as a material and food source in Australia.
  • Katter's Australia Party — Bob Katter is not pro-legalisation, and joked in parliament, "I didn't know marijuana was legal in Canberra and I can now understand why the country has gone to pot."
  • Liberal Party of Queensland — No public policy; presumed to be the same as the Australian Liberal Party and Nationals as they are a coalition.
  • United Australia Party — The party wants a standard on synthetic dangerous drugs, including cannabis.

Minor parties in the Senate

  • Centre Alliance — Senator Stirling Griff voted against expanding medicinal cannabis in 2017. No public policy on record.
  • Country Liberal Party — The party has no public policy on record.
  • Independent — Senator Rex Patrick voted strongly in favour of increased access to medicinal cannabis, but has previously stated that decriminalising cannabis "requires considerable thought and analysis."
  • Jacqui Lambert Network — The party has policies to address the problems facing everyday Tasmanians in accessing medicinal cannabis, and believes it should be a doctor/patient issue and not a political/bureaucratic issue.
  • Pauline Hanson's One Nation — The party has stated, "One Nation upholds the right of Australians to access medical cannabis, that may give them quality of life and life itself." However, it has a history of blocking motions like the 2017 bid to fast-track medicinal cannabis for the terminally ill.

Pro-cannabis parties in Australian politics

There are several smaller pro-cannabis parties; of particular note is the Legalise Cannabis Australia Party. It was first founded as Help End Marijuana Prohibition (known by its clever and catchy acronym HEMP) in 1993 by Nigel Quinlan, who ran under the candidate name Nigel Freemarijuana.

The group, which changed its name to Legalise Cannabis Australia in September 2021, has a number of policies around legalising and regulating cannabis for personal use, industrial use and medicinal use.

A subgroup of Legalise Cannabis Australia is the Legalise Cannabis Queensland Party, which was officially approved by the Australian Electoral Commission in September 2020 and ran in the October 2020 state election. The party garnered 2.2 percent of the vote, the fourth highest overall. The Legalise Cannabis Western Australia Party won two Upper House seats in the 2021 state election.

The Reason Party (formerly the Australian Sex Party) advocates for cannabis to be legalised, regulated and taxed. The party is currently only represented in the Victorian Legislative Council by Fiona Patton and is not represented at a federal level. Patten recently chaired a foundational committee that provided a report on findings and recommendations on cannabis policy to the Victorian parliament.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Featured
Exceptional Exploration Results at Linderos

The Board of Titan Minerals Limited (ASX: TTM) (Titan or the Company) is pleased to present the following update on surface exploration at its Linderos Project in Southern Ecuador. The focus of these programs has been the two main prospects currently known to exist at Linderos being the Mesta Gold Prospect and the Copper Ridge Prospect located <1km to its south. Some very exciting assay results from surface works are beginning to filter through with the key highlights so far being:

read more Show less
TTM:AU
ISR Uranium Acquisition Settled & Vendor Placement Completed

GTI Resources Ltd (GTI or Company) is pleased to advise that the acquisition of Branka Minerals Pty Ltd and the vendor placement of $600,000, as advised to ASX on 18 August 2021, have now both been completed.

read more Show less
GTR:AU

The mining and resources sector now sets its sights on Australia’s largest mining investment forum, Mines and Money @ IMARC, co-located with IMARC from January 31, 2022, to February 2, 2022, at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

It was gold price, lithium demand and China’s appetite for copper that dominated much of the discussion at Mines and Money Online Connect @ IMARC this week at the virtual event running from the 19th to the 21st October.

Mines and Money Online Connect saw 90 mining companies, 600+ investors and more than 2,000 participants log-on to hear mining executives and analysts discuss the next big thing for savvy investors in 2022.

read more Show less
carbon emissions

Following international pressure, the Australian government has promised to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

In a last-minute commitment after months of debate, the Australian government has promised to reach net zero emissions by 2050, expecting to meet the goal largely through technology development.

The move comes following international pressure as Australia had previously refused to join countries in pledging to meet the target ahead of the United Nations' COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

However, the plan unveiled on Tuesday (October 26), which includes a government investment of AU$20 billion, does not strengthen the target set for 2030, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying Australia is on track to beat its Paris Agreement goal, cutting emissions by 30 to 35 percent by that decade.


"We will do this the Australian way," Morrison said ahead of a press conference, announcing investments in new energy technologies like hydrogen and low-cost solar.

An Australian hydrogen industry could be worth more than AU$50 billion in 2050, according to the government. Meanwhile, expanding production and processing of metals like lithium, nickel, copper and uranium could together be worth around AU$85 billion in exports in 2050.

That said, Australia will continue to be heavily dependent on fossil fuels as the plan will not shut down coal or gas production. The country is a major coal player, with the third largest reserves in the world, but its reliance on coal-fired power makes it one of the world's largest carbon emitters per capita.

"We want our heavy industries, like mining, to stay open, remain competitive and adapt, so they remain viable for as long as global demand allows," Morrison said. "We will not support any mandate — domestic or international — to force closure of our resources or agricultural industries."

Australia's desire to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 is a step in the right direction, Prakash Sharma, Wood Mackenzie's Asia Pacific head of markets and transitions, said.

"Our analysis shows that Australia can reach net zero emissions by 2050," he said. The country's major trading partners — China, Japan and South Korea — are already in transition towards that goal.

According to Wood Mackenzie, nearly 83 percent of Australia's power generation will come from solar and wind by 2050, as compared to about 20 percent last year. Natural gas, bio energy, geothermal and small modular reactors will supply the remaining 17 percent in power output. Coal into power is expected to be phased out by 2035.

"Although the pathway requires complete transformation of its traditional energy and export sectors, there are significant opportunities to capitalise on and protect future revenues," Sharma said.

"This will require Australia to become a significant player in low-carbon hydrogen trade as well as being able to offer carbon storage and offset services."

Meanwhile, the Australian Conservation Foundation has welcomed the prime minister's commitment to reach net zero by 2050, but said the mid-century goal is only meaningful with deep cuts to climate pollution this decade.

"Unless the government sets the wheels in motion to cut our emissions in half by 2030, it is making climate change worse and turning its back on the opportunities," said Chief Executive Kelly O'Shanassy.

"Australia can become a global clean energy superpower in the next decade by replacing coal and gas with renewable energy," she added. "We have abundant clean energy, tools and talent, but we cannot delay any longer."

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

panoramic view of sydney with the business district

There are at least five companies mining silver in New South Wales right now. Learn more about silver stocks in this key Australian state, as well as its rich history with the precious metal.

New South Wales is where silver mining began in Australia, and where the modern company known as BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BHP) has roots dating back more than a century.

Silver was discovered at Broken Hill in the west of New South Wales in 1883. Two short years later, the Broken Hill Proprietary Company was floated, and from there the rest is history.

Broken Hill Proprietary, now known simply as BHP, rapidly became the largest mining company in Australia, and then the world, by diversifying, acquiring, merging and spreading its reach so that it had assets and interests on four continents — and it all began with the discovery of silver in New South Wales.


New South Wales' strong silver-mining history

BHP doesn't have silver operations in New South Wales today, but the legacy of silver continues in the state.

Australia has a reputation for being a desirable mining jurisdiction, but as an investment prospect, New South Wales is one of the country's less attractive areas, ranking fifth out of seven among its states and territories.

Globally, however, New South Wales is a safe bet, outranking Chile in mining investment attractiveness, according to the Fraser Institute's latest survey of mining companies.

There are at least five companies currently mining silver in the state, as per government data — though many of them are private. Publicly traded entities are accessible through the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Overall, Australia is ranked among the top global producers of silver, sharing the title of fifth largest producer with Chile and Poland in 2020. It put out 1,300 tonnes of the precious metal that year.

It's worth noting that the amount of silver mined in Australia used to be much higher. Going back through US Geological Survey reports, the country enjoyed a spike in silver mining around the turn of the millennium, when annual production hovered around 2,000 tonnes per year. Since then, it's slowly fallen away to where it sits now.

For its part, New South Wales produced 128 tonnes of silver in the 2015/2016 financial year — a number that is fairly consistent year-on-year due to the number of operational mines located there. Within the region, silver is mined as a by-product at each operational mine, all of which are in the central part of the state.

ASX-listed silver stocks in New South Wales

As mentioned, quite a few of the companies mining silver in New South Wales are private, while others are public, but not listed on the ASX. Examples include China Molybdenum (OTC Pink:CMCLF,HKEX:3993) and Nonfemet.

Of course, public entities are busy in the state too. Read on for a look at some of the ASX-listed operators focused on silver in New South Wales. And if you're interested in jumping into the market, tools to learn how to invest on the ASX are freely available online through the ASX website — here's a little starter to make it even easier.

1. Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM)

Market cap: AU$20.23 billion; current share price: AU$24.73

True to form, silver is produced as a by-product by the top mining company with silver operations in New South Wales — Newcrest Mining's Cadia operation is actually mainly centered on copper and gold. Even so, for the 12 months ended June 30, 2021, Cadia put out 643,000 ounces of the white metal, accounting for the vast majority of the company's overall silver production globally (945,000 ounces overall in the latest annual period).

2. Aeris Resources (ASX:AIS)

Market cap: AU$461.58 million; current share price: AU$0.21

Another company with interests mainly in copper and gold, Aeris Resources is the owner and operator of the Tritton copper operation. Silver plays so little a role in the company's profile that it doesn't list its output of the metal, but it has been hitting some silver mineralization in exploration works at Tritton over the last few months, with holes drilled at the Constellation deposit yielding results as fancy as 28.6 grams per tonne silver.

The company has also reported silver mineralization at the nearby Avoca Tank exploration project.

3. Silver Mines (ASX:SVL)

Market cap: AU$261.49 million; current share price: AU$0.21

Silver Mines is the owner of the Bowdens silver project in Central New South Wales, and the company describes it as one of Australia's largest undeveloped silver resources. The company also has interests in another two silver projects in the state: Conrad and Webbs, both located in the north.

The company's goal is to become one of Australia's preeminent silver companies.

A feasibility study for Bowdens was completed in 2018, and envisions a maiden ore reserve of 29.9 million tonnes at 69 grams per tonne silver, 0.44 percent zinc and 0.32 percent lead for a 16 year mine life initially. Since 2018, the company has fine tuned the proposed mine, and recently began a scoping study on underground mining.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.