Something extraordinary happened on television last night. A politician was asked a series of tough questions and actually answered them all.
What makes this instance all the more remarkable is that the questions put to Senator Jacqui Lambie on the ABC’s 7.30 program were not only pressing, they were personal – they were about her son’s addiction to ice.
For more than a year, Senator Jacqui Lambie has made an art form of creating commotion, usually with very few results. But I sincerely hope her luck is about to change. The Senator made a gutsy admission about a harrowing problem thousands of other parents share. So, in itself, Lambie’s announcement is not shocking.
What’s shocking is that people are actually shocked.
Illicit drug dependency is rampant but rarely do we hear directly from the people it affects.
Which is surprising considering the scope of its reach. Today’s drug addict doesn’t fit in with popular perceptions. The 21st century junkie isn’t a homeless and hopeless heroin junkie strung out in a Kings Cross gutter. Sure, they do still exist, but in my experience today’s drug users are often some of our nation’s brightest.
You wouldn’t pick them for someone who enjoys the occasional splif let alone hitting the crack pipe or dipping their snout in a bag of Charlie (cocaine). It’s the doctors, it’s the bankers, the lawyers, the media peeps. All highly successful professionals who are knocking back cocaine like candy, bringing a whole new meaning to ‘powdering your nose.’
Apart from it being incredibly brave of Jacqui to share her personal torment in such an open and honest way, she has initiated an important debate. That is, drugs don’t discriminate.
Whether you’re rich or poor, educated or not, the famous or the fan. Drugs are everywhere and it scares the hell out of me.
I’ve never touched an illicit drug. It’s not a moral thing, I’ve just never been interested. That and I’m terrified it would make me more crazy than I already am.
The first time I saw cocaine was when I worked in the Canberra Parliament House Press Gallery.
Even though you have to pass through security to enter Parliament House, somehow several journos and multiple political staffers manage to smuggle in some Columbian gutter dust, and maybe a little speed if they know they have a long day ahead of them.
To be clear, not all journos and political staffers are like that. Just more than you’d think. I don’t want to rat on my own tribe.
However, there is one point I’d like to make. Well it’s more of a suggestion really. I always find it a little funny, and a lot arrogant ,when there’s revelations of some high profile sportsman or other celebrity being busted with drugs.
As reporters, we name, shame and revel in the glory of exposing the druggos and their sordid scandals. But here’s my idea: I think it’s only fair if a journalist skewers someone for drug use, they themselves should pee in a cup.
And yes, you read that right – I would like all journalists reporting on drug scandals to pee in a cup for a drug test. My reasoning is simple. The hypocrisy that’s happening is damn well outrageous.
Click the video to watch what Jacqui said about her son’s ice addiction. (Post continues after video)
On a political level, I find myself disagreeing with Jacqui Lambie on most issues.
But she has just done something remarkable. As a public figure, and a politician to boot, the Tasmanian Senator could have done what many other MPs have, and try to bury the issue.
But instead of hiding her son‘s addiction in a deep, dark, gloomy hole, Ms Lambie is shining light on a very important issue. She is courageously using her own personal struggle to start a conversation.
Let’s do her the honour of listening.
Are you impressed that Jacqui Lambie has started this conversation?
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