Sandra Kanck in Parliament on Thursday.
STATE MP Sandra Kanck says ecstasy - which has been linked to more than 110 deaths in three years - "is not a dangerous drug".
The Democrats leader told Parliament that after 20 years, there was still no ``evidence that it is a dangerous substance''.
She suggested the drug could have been given to victims of last year's fatal Eyre Peninsula bushfires to help them cope with their trauma.
Bushfire recovery effort chairman Vince Monterola said he was astounded by the comment, labelling it ``an absurd proposition''.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse warns that ecstasy, also known as MDMA, ``is not safe for human consumption''.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty last month warned that a mistaken belief by young Australians that ecstasy was relatively safe was ``by far the biggest drug problem'' facing Australia.
The Federal Government spent $23 million last year warning of the dangers following revelations by the Australian Crime Commission that per capita, Australians are the biggest users in the world.
Substance Abuse Minister Gail Gago said 112 ecstasy-related deaths nationally between 2001 and 2004 was ``ample evidence'' the drug was harmful. ``Health experts, psychiatric experts and the community do not want a pro-drug policy,'' she said.
Ms Kanck the last remaining Democrat in the the SA Parliament announced on Wednesday that she intended to retire from politics at the 2010 election and was therefore ``not scared of a public backlash'' by taking a stand against mainstream opinion.
However, the party's state president, Richard Pascoe, yesterday called on her to stand aside within 12 months, saying he supported defeated MP Kate Reynolds taking her spot in the Legislative Council.
In a wide-ranging speech on drugs, Ms Kanck said she was ``quite disturbed'' by what she called ``an emerging trend of conservatism in politics''.
She claimed ``progressive politics'' was the loser from the March poll, which saw the election of anti-drugs campaigner Ann Bressington, Family First's Dennis Hood and Green Mark Parnell.
``I remind members who might think that all drugs are evil that Jesus partook of wine. He did not have any silly laws that said `this drug is legal, and this one isn't legal','' she said.
``We have been told that ecstasy is a dangerous substance. We do not have the evidence.
``The original 1985 listing of ecstasy, or MDMA, is still being contested. So more than 20 years later, the matter has not yet been resolved.
``In fact, I was saying to people last year after the bushfires on Eyre Peninsula, with all the trauma that was associated with it, that one of the best things you could probably have done for the people on EP who had gone through that trauma was to give them MDMA.
``However, one dare not advocate that, because we are all being tough on drugs, aren't we?''
``Good God,'' is how Eyre Peninsula farmer and SA Farmers Federation executive member Paul Kaden reacted to Ms Kanck's suggestions about dispensing the drug to traumatised bushfire victims. `
`That's one of the strangest comments I've ever heard and totally irresponsible,'' he said.
His comments were echoed by new Family First MP Mr Hood, who described the statement as ``beyond belief''.
Mr Hood said that Ms Kanck had clearly ``lost touch''. ``It is very disappointing.''