For far too long now, I have been promoting harm minimisation as the only model for intervention when dealing with a person living with addiction.
NO more. Inspired by Bronwyn Bishop, who chaired The winnable war on drugs: The impact of illicit drug use on families, and throughout the hearings in April and culminating in the findings, shows us how to disregard, disrespect and dismiss not only only the person, but also the data advising of harm minimisation, I have embraced zero tolerance. Zero tolerance is just as it sounds- no excuses ever!
The very first drug addict I will be demanding zero tolerance towards is John Winston HoWARd. It is my professional opinion that our PM has a psychological addiction to power (P). For the first eleven years there was a regular supply of his drug of choice and no one really got in the way of his daily fix. Kim Beazley (twice), Simon Crean and Mark Latham were all no threat to HoWARd’s regular dose of P, but then came Kevin Rudd- Kevin07, he threatened to disrupt Johnnie’s supply of the big P with poll after poll screaming that the supply of P is slipping and will inevitably end.
Initially we only saw short term lapses, then the long-term effects of Johnnie’s addiction were becoming increasingly obvious. Two Ministers felt they had to have an intervention and confront Johnnie’s P use habit. Alas, while they were concerned, no one could actually make the call to have him placed in a detox facility, where the only option is total abstinence. I observed all the classic emotions when faced with the threat of losing a drug of choice. I saw denial:
‘’I hope people understand from observing me in 30-odd years of public life that I have never run from a fight before and I don’t intend to do so now.’’ -I will get my P Johnnie.
“Well Kerry, what matters is the party has decided that they want me to stay. I want to stay. I’ve got a lot of fight in me, there’s a lot of things I want to do, and I have resolved very much to fight this election campaign like none other. And there are a lot of things I want to accomplish, and that’s why I’m staying in politics. […] I love politics and I’m still determined to try and do the best thing for this country, and I’m still determined to give my party and the Coalition a real chance of winning what will be a very difficult election.” – I may lose my P Johnnie.
and finally the classic addicts ‘use or die’ bargaining:
“… but look, can I just say something about it. I’ve given a lot of thought to this, and my position to the next election, and this is what I’ll be telling the Australian people is, is very simple. If the Australian people are good enough and kind enough to re-elect me again, there are a lot of things I want to do, and I would want to approach those things with enormous energy.”- Please let me have my P Johnnie.
Johnnie displayed and continues to display, classic withdrawal anxiety symptoms as he faces the real possibility of abrupt discontinuation of his P.
As said, inspired by Bronwyn Bishop and her total lack of compassion or civility to anyone with an opposing view, I propose that we not give Johnnie another chance, we instead place him as far away from the big P as possible and never, ever let him get his Power back.
In the spirit of zero tolerance and with thanks to the words of the Chair:
Johnnie would have to make a case for keeping his seat, or it would be taken away. He would not be able to get the seat back even if he became drug free at a later stage. The electorate would benefit from being given “a real chance at life”, instead of living under a system with a leader who only wanted them to get a Power fix to feed his addiction.
Image from here