The Tasmanian Greens are ditching dodgy policies as the state election
looms and the pundits are forecasting a hung parliament. First, it was
opposition to the mega loss-making Sydney/Devonport ferry, Spirit of
Tasmania III. Now it’s a backflip on illicit drugs, with the party
ditching its long-held policy to legalise marijuana and announcing
tough new criminal penalties for drug-traffickers.

The Greens are not red-faced about the about-face, openly saying it is
a vote-catching exercise to win mainstream votes in the upcoming
election. They admit their policy on drugs cost them dearly at the last
Federal election, when there was an outcry over their stance not only
to de-criminalise marijuana, but also, a soft line on ecstasy and

Greens MHA Nick McKim told the press it’s all about eliminating the
inevitable “fear and smear” campaign. “We’re here to get as many votes
as we can, so we can put in place our public policies on a number of
issues,” he says bluntly.

It could also be seen as a move to cuddle up with the Lennon Labor
Government, because the drugs policies of the two parties are all but
the same. Opposition leader Rene Hidding reacted by raising a big local
bogey, saying it is evidence a Labor Green Government is on the cards
unless the punters vote Liberal.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey