This document is full of harm minimisation. The Prime Minister said that he is opposed to harm minimisation and that we do not have it.
Australia had once led the world when it came to drug policy because of Harm Minimisation(HM). Although HM has been our official policy since 1985 it has had it’s share of critics, especially lately. Probably the most interesting aspect of this government initiative is the lack of understanding from the government itself. Steve Cananne from radio station, JJJ highlighted this so well in a short video documentary last year which exposed the then current government as not even acknowledging our own drug policy and knowing even less about it.
The following links are to the short documentary and the full interview with Bronwyn Bishop who chaired the House Families Committee’s inquiry into the impact of illicit drug use on families titled, “The Winnable War on Drugs”. This interview is the epitome of Zero Tolerance rhetoric from a government caught up in ideology but more importantly how intensely idiotic and deceitful politicians can be to push their narrow minded views onto the public. Watch as Bronwyn Bishop tries to explain her reasoning behind the report and note the political manoeuvring that is as cringe worthy as watching an episode of The Office or Some Mother Do Have ‘Em.
STOP. If you haven’t watched them, go back and click on the links ... you will regret it if you don’t.
During the interview, Bronwyn Bishop talks about a huge advertising campaign along the lines of the AIDS Grim Reaper ad. She also throws in the Faces of Meth campaign by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. Below is an example of the campaign.
...we have an obligation to have a major advertising campaign, a bit like the Grim Reaper, to tell people what it does to you. Pictures that show what drugs do to you: the rotting teeth, the ageing face, the haggard look, the bone disintegration.
Politicians love fear tactics and BB is no exception. People already know the dangers with drugs but many also don’t believe government spin. BB keeps mentioning the “drug elite” are involved in “old thinking” with Harm Minimisation. This is just a new tactic of Zero Tolerance zealots to use the arguments of HM supporters and switch it around. In fact BB’s suggestions are “old thinking”, not HM which continues to expand and try new evidence based strategies whilst Zero Tolerance policies have been tried over and over but somehow expecting different results.
This report is very specific about what needs to be done to prevent harm—not just to reduce it or minimise it but to prevent it, with the ultimate aim of always making the individual drugfree and not sentenced to a lifetime of methadone, which will probably take 46 years off your life expectancy, and not turned into a hag with their teeth falling out. If you think the mouth of a tobacco-smoking person is hideous,look at the mouth of a methadone user.
Bronwyn Bishop’s handling of the “The Winnable War on Drugs” committee was disgraceful and deceitful. She stacked the committee with DFA members and was so arrogantly biased from the beginning that I am surprised someone didn’t punch her. The junk science was laid on by the truck full and her opinion kept over riding anyone who disagreed with her. The rhetoric was thick in the air and the use of sound bite type statements was pathetic. “Think of the children”, “the ruined families”, “drug users look disgusting” and more. She put down any expert who was not of the Zero Tolerance view and her incredible lack of knowledge was backed up by members of the committee who were just as rude and aggressive.
Dr Herron: ... I went through that era—I never inhaled—when cannabis was thought to be harmless and useful and all the rest of it. It was the general consensus in the hippie era that that was so. Now, it has taken years—a bit like cigarette-smoking; it took 50 years for cigarette-smoking.
Bronwyn Bishop: But it is not like cigarette smoking, John.
Dr Herron: No, I am saying the deleterious effects of cigarette-smoking took 50 years to be enacted in legislation.
Bronwyn Bishop: Yes, but do not compare the two, because I have never seen anyone commit an act of violence under the influence of tobacco.
Bronwyn Bishop is a well known bigot especially when it comes to Muslims. Her attempt to ban headscarves was even rejected by John Howard but that didn’t stop BB from slipping in a racist comment when she could.
Bronwyn Bishop: Harm minimisation has come to mean different things to different people.
Dr Herron: That is correct.
Bronwyn Bishop: It is a bit like the term ‘multiculturalism’ I suppose. It is ruining people’s lives.
Bronwyn Bishop and her Islam phobia:
In August 2005, Bishop called for Muslim headscarves to be banned from public schools, an opinion also expressed by another prominent Liberal backbencher, Sophie Mirabella. The Prime Minister, John Howard, said that he did not agree with this view as a ban would be impractical. Her preoccupation with criticising Islam in Australia has been criticised as racist, sexist and hypocritical. In November 2005, Bishop expressed the view that "she is opposed to the wearing of the Muslim headscarf, where it does not form part of the school uniform. This is because that in most cases the headscarf is being worn as a sign of defiance and difference between non Muslim and Muslim students" and then went on to say that she "does not believe that a ban on the Jewish skull cap is necessary, because people of the Jewish faith have not used the skull cap as a way of campaigning against the Australian culture, laws and way of life."
Lost in the world of Zero Tolerance is blissful ignorance. Politically it’s too hard to take the advice of expert groups or follow the science. Bronwyn Bishop is a political animal with no conscience or ethics. She will happily deceive the public to get her agenda in motion, whether it’s correct or not.
Addiction alone should determine whether a child is separated from their parent
Science does not allow for ideology to take over and someone’s personal views cannot alter facts ... unless your a politician it seems. This has never been about the welfare of addicts but how it fits in with the government’s “family values” spin. One of the successes of HM is the separation of science and morality which allows research and facts to determine treatment. It’s a real twist when a government committee can be formed on the basis that contradicts this, defeating the very element that gives it success.
The aim should be to make the individual drug-free. We have found those in the drug industry take an amoral stance; they say that by harm minimisation the question of morality is out of the equation and they make no judgment as to whether drugs are good or bad.
Bronwyn Bishop is disgusting, rude, bigoted and deceitful. How someone like her can be a representative of our society raises many questions. Personally she makes me squirm and I wonder how she can go on each day with no remorse. I have brought this up before that people in a position of trust, who play with people’s lives for the sake of political or personal gain should be made to face a court of humanity. If John Howard had been returned to office and her idiotic report had been taken up, the damage to people’s lives and the deaths caused would never be attributed to her, even though she purposely overlooked scientific evidence and factual research. If society was fair, dangerous politicians like Bronwyn Bishop, John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Ann Bressington, Nicola Roxon, Chris Pyne, Fred Nile etc. would be serving jail time for crimes against humanity. Instead they continue to gain personally from playing political chess with drug addicts lives and the experts who are trying to help.