Opposition leader, Robert Doyle, seems keen to fight the war on drugs, according
today’s report (sadly, not online) in the Herald Sun. He’s very concerned that
backpackers “might not realise” that heavy penalties including the death penalty
apply to people caught with drugs in Asia.

Of course there’s
been absolutely nothing in the news in the past six months remotely
related to heavy penalties for drugs in Asia, so you can understand why the
hapless backpackers may have missed this pertinent

Seems Doyle’s been
busy making a new career for himself, printing brochures to be distributed at
travel agencies used by young people warning them that trafficking drugs in Asia
may have, er, unfortunate consequences. Just as well he’s found himself
something to do, since he’s clearly resigned to irrelevancy during Steve
Bracks’s looming Commonwealth Games circus.

Meanwhile, at home, “We must do
more to tackle the perception that cannabis is a harmless drug,”
Federal Parliamentary
Secretary for Health, Christopher Pyne announced yesterday.
His call for State Governments to “re-criminalise” possession and consumption of
any amount of pot is an unusual one; as it’s still a criminal offence in all
States, one wonders whether Pyne may have come up with this strategy by getting
some first-hand expertise for the Expert Committee he’s formed.

Pyne declares: “In a
list of 24 of our national contemporaries such as the Netherlands, the United
Kingdom, the United States of America and New Zealand, Australia ranked the
highest in cannabis use.” Now let’s think about that for a moment – Australia
has more cannabis use than the Netherlands? In the Netherlands you can
buy pot in coffee shops,
and yet Pyne’s using the fact that Australia has higher rates of drug use to
argue that Australia should have tougher laws? Argument, as Monty Python
famously said, is an intellectual process.

Unless you’re the
Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health, clearly.