William Bush and Marion McConnell OAM

President and vice president, Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform

2024 ACT Senior Australian of the Year Nominee

William (Bill) Bush and Marion McConnell OAM have been at the forefront of the ACT’s nation-leading drug reform, promoting a harm reduction approach to personal drug use. 

Their activism to change drug laws and treat addiction as a health issue has had a local, national and global impact. 

Through Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform, the pair has advocated for police to attend overdoses only if violence or death is involved. That makes it more likely people will call an ambulance if an overdose occurs. 

They hold an annual remembrance ceremony for people who’ve lost their lives to illicit drugs and support families of people experiencing addiction. 

Bill and Marion helped design the Drugs of Dependence (Personal Cannabis Use) Amendment Bill to the ACT Legislative Assembly, passed in 2019. They also generated community and legislative support for the Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill, decriminalising the personal use of common drugs.