Pubdate: Fri, 19 Apr 2002
Source: Australian Associated Press (Australia Wire)
Copyright: 2002 Australian Associated Press
Author: Linda Silmalis, State Political Correspondent


Moderate NSW Liberal leader John Brogden was today handed his first stick 
of dynamite with the government's announcement to extend the controversial 
heroin injecting room trial

The heroin injecting room trial split the Liberal Party in November 1999 
when it was first debated in parliament.

Mr Brogden was among six Liberal MPs who spoke in support of the move - 
against the leader of the day, Kerry Chikarovski.

"I regard myself as a pragmatist in this area," he told parliament at the time.

"I regard the introduction of an injecting room, particularly in a trial, 
as a pragmatic response to saving the lives of hard-core, long-term heroin 

"I do not view this as radical action."

Moments after winning the leadership, Mr Brogden appeared to distance 
himself from his less conservative views.

In response to questions over his past comments on issues such as drug 
laws, he cautioned that they had been his personal views.

Mr Brogden remained silent today, leaving his justice spokesman Chris 
Hartcher to issue a statement calling for an evaluation report before the 
laws allowing for an extension were introduced.

At the time of the Bill's introduction, there had been widespread community 
opposition to the trial.

Today, none of that earlier anger was evident.

However, as far as NSW National Party MP Andrew Fraser was concerned, the 
party's opposition to the trial remain unchanged.

"We are still opposed to it and I haven't heard otherwise," he said.

Mr Brogden may have garnered the numbers to get the job but sticking to his 
more progressive views is proving to be a much tougher assignment.
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