There has never been much doubt in my mind that Christopher Pyne is quite dim.
I used to love watching him in the days when, on Friday Forum, Lateline would pitch him against Mark Latham. Oh my, there were times when I even felt a little sorry for the pitiable, petulant, naive and bewildered Liberal Federal Member for Sturt. Today is not such a day.
Today, I am horrified at how very little the former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Aging knows about drug misuse, drug abuse, drug addiction, rehabilitation and wellness. Christopher Pyne has come out today suggesting that Ben Cousins should speak out in support of the federal government’s war on drugs.
“Having been given a second chance and been through rehabilitation, it would be, I think, appropriate for him to join the government’s tough on drugs campaign, because young people in particular will be watching to see what he does in the future. One way to assist those young people would be for him to join the campaign against drugs. A person like Ben Cousins who has admitted to drug use and been rehabilitated can talk with first hand knowledge of the dangers and downsides of drugs use.” – Christopher Pyne.
This is what Brendan Gale– Chief Executive of the AFL Players’ Association had to say specifically about Ben Cousins and illicit drug use in general:
“If a person is apprehended, dealing or using illicit drugs, he’s dealt with under the illicit drug policy, and that is, it’s a diversionary approach. And the focus is on education, rehabilitation, rather than putting him in the criminal justice system. […] but as far as illicit drugs with no performance enhancing effect, where there’s a health issue, and a welfare issue, we provide a medical response, not a punitive one. And that is consistent with all the States and the Federal governments drug diversion principles and that’s something that all experts agree is the best way to change behaviour.”
Then we have Medical Director of the Victorian Addiction Centre- Professor Greg Whelan advising that Ben Cousins’ is at a crucial time in his recovery.
“This (recovery from addiction) is a lifelong problem, just the same as asthma or arthritis or diabetes or oppression are lifelong problems. The biggest risk is in the first three months after people start their treatment, because we know that statistically that’s the time that they’re most fragile and most likely to relapse back to where they were before.”
I’m certain that the Minister for Aging hoped that Ben Cousins could be trotted out in time for the upcoming election with a Drugs are bad message in an effort to breath life into the cadaverous heap that is the WAR ON DRUGS policy.
As usual, Christopher Pyne is a reductionist who really should know better. Shame on you Minister.
Update: Richmond defender and president of the players’ association, Joel Bowden, said the Government’s proposals went against “all the research and all the information we’ve been given”.
Image from here