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HEMP Party To Contest Aston By-Election

June 16, 2001

This is the text of a press release issued by the Help End Marijuana Prohibition Party.

Graeme Dunstan, HEMP candidate for Aston by-election The Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party has thrown its hat into the ring of the by-election circus for the federal seat of Aston.

Nigel Freemarijuana, the controversial HEMP candidate who polled 1700 (2.3%) of the primary votes in the recent Ryan by-election, offered to fund a candidate in Aston or run again himself. The offer has been taken up by long time cannabis law reform activist and s11 veteran, Graeme Dunstan.

Graeme Dunstan (59) who describes his occupation as an itinerant "change agent" was born and schooled in Essendon. He is a Duntroon drop out who became a leader of the anti-war and counter culture student movement on the University of NSW campus, and co-organiser of the Australian Union of Students' 1973 Nimbin Aquarius Festival.

He has served as a community arts officer in local government and as a festival consultant to the Victorian Tourism Commission when Don Dunstan was its chairman. As such he was one of the founders of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

In recent years Graeme has served as operations manager for the Nimbin HEMP Embassy, a producer of the annual Nimbin "Let it Grow" Mardi Grass and captain of the crusading Last time he was in Melbourne with, he was one of those on the receiving end of the police baton charge at the s11/World Economic Forum.

"HEMP will be waging a guerilla theatre campaign in Aston to put cannabis law reform on the Federal political agenda", Mr Dunstan said. "If everyone in Aston who has ever smoked pot voted for us, we'd win hands down."

Before the HEMP Party decides its preferences, it will be surveying all the other parties on their attitudes to cannabis and law reform.

"The ALP is notorious for its broken promises on cannabis law reform", Mr Dunstan said. "HEMP preferences recently helped win the former blue ribbon Liberal seat of Ryan for the ALP, but they snubbed us by placing us last on their ticket."

"This time we want to talk to the Liberal Party, the traditional scaremongers of prohibition, to see if there are any "small l" liberals as concerned as we are about John Howard's dangerous ignorance and inexperience on drug issues."

The HEMPsters will be a roadshow rolling around the streets and parks of the suburbs of Aston in their colourful bus, shadowing the candidates of the major parties and dogging them to make their attitudes to cannabis public.

The HEMP campaign for Aston will begin on 4 July outside the court house in Byron Bay Northern NSW. There, will bear witness to the trials of Rusty Harris, a local folk hero and resistance fighter who was busted in the cannabis sniffer dog operation in Byron Bay on 9 March.



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