As I lamented several times in the course of the recently ended 58-week-long campaign for leadership of Australia, the ALP is already showing itself to be just as conservative as the government it has ousted.
Let’s start with an excerpt of a communique from present Shadow Health Minister, Nicola Roxon:
Labor strongly condemns illicit drug use and supports a ‘tough on drugs’ approach as a means of protecting Australians from the terrible consequences of drug use and abuse.
Labor can’t even be bothered to come up with their own ‘brand name’ for their drugs policy, instead continuing to use HoWARd’s moniker for zero-tolerance. One would thus reasonably think that Labor’s drug abuse strategy itself will not be any different as well.
How many times does one have to make the point to government that jail and other punishments and privations do not now, nor have they ever cured addiction- before they twig? How many times must one make the point that prohibition didn’t work with alcohol in the US in the 1920s, instead creating a black market and a supporting network of organised crime that exists yet today, before some sense is injected into government drug abuse policy?
HoWARd’s evangelical abstinence policies were generated in large part by Brian Watters of the Salvation Army, in concert with HoWARd’s other hand-picked religionists and ideological moralists like the fully repugnant Bronwyn Bishop.
Faith and jail time not only do a whole lot of nothing to halt drug addiction, but in fact perpetuate it. You wouldn’t treat cancer with moralistic punishments- why would you treat drug and alcohol abuse with the same?
Near the very end of the HoWARdian era, shameless spin and political pandering to their conservative converted brought us a re-branding of the ‘zero-tolerance’ model, known to HoWARd and Bronnie Bishop via their newly invented term ‘harm prevention,’ a deliberate attempt to co-opt and dilute the name of ‘harm minimisation,’ a real drug abuse reduction strategy, scientifically proven to work.
The infamous sham hearing on ‘Impact of illicit drug use on families’ gives the punter a truly horrifying insight into how the HoWARdians thought they would merely bully their belief-based garbage into the field of drug abuse mitigation. The nut of Bishop’s ideological scam was that children of drug users should be taken away and the parents jailed. Such an innately flawed strategy not only will never cure even one addiction, but when one considers the actual numerical scope of drug abuse in Australia, would create Stolen Generation part II, if indeed that increment isn’t already taken with HoWARd’s misbegotten intervention in Aboriginal communities.
In the inimitable words of Marieke Hardy, when she speaks as Ms Fits– Labor, don’t fuck it up.
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