Pubdate: Wed, 17 Sep 2008 Source: Advocate, The (Australia) Contact: http://nwtasmania.yourguide.com.au/content/writetous/ Website: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/4952 Author: Sean Ford Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/decrim.htm (Decrim/Legalization) Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/pot.htm (Cannabis) Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/testing.htm (Drug Testing) Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/youth.htm (Youth) NO RESPONSE FROM BARTLETT ON POT QUERY PREMIER David Bartlett is the only Tasmanian political leader who will not say if he has ever smoked cannabis. Liberal Leader Will Hodgman and Greens Leader Nick McKim both owned up to The Advocate last week, following a revelation from newly appointed New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees that he smoked marijuana as a young man. Mr Bartlett ducked the question. After two days spent pursuing his minders, Mr Bartlett's only response to a series of drug-related questions was a brief statement answering one relating to the Youth Parliament's discussion of legalising cannabis. Mr Hodgman responded promptly to The Advocate's cannabis questions, saying: "Yes, about 20 years ago I did and it's not something I would recommend." Mr McKim took the best part of two days to respond, but was heavily involved in committee hearings. He provided a simple "Yes" as his answer. We also asked the leaders if they supported random drug testing of politicians. Mr Bartlett did not answer that either. Mr Hodgman said: "I am happy for that to be considered." Mr McKim said: "We would need to see more detail before responding." This newspaper approached the leaders after rumours began circulating early last week that sitting Tasmanian MPs were using marijuana. The Advocate put several extra questions to Mr Bartlett. One asked if he would sack any Labor MP using marijuana. The newspaper also asked about his attitude to cannabis, if he believed many state MPs used drugs and if he would consider legalising marijuana if the Youth Parliament supported it. (That motion, from Marist Regional College, was not supported.) Mr Bartlett's only answer to any of the questions was: "A whole range of issues have been debated in Youth Parliament this week and I am looking forward to reviewing recommendations that come out of that process." "It is always encouraging to see young people take an active interest in our democracy." http://nwtasmania.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/general/question-of-honesty/1275554.aspx Pubdate: 18 Sep 2008 Source: Advocate, The (Australia) Contact: http://nwtasmania.yourguide.com.au/content/writetous/ Website: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/ Address: 54 Mount St., PO Box 63, Burnie, Tasmania 7320 Copyright: 2008. Fairfax Media Author: Sean Ford Question of honesty PREMIER David Bartlett owned up to having smoked dope yesterday, eight days after The Advocate first asked the question. Mr Bartlett's simple "yes" admission followed his rival party leaders - Liberal Will Hodgman and Green Nick McKim - owning up to past cannabis use in a story in The Advocate yesterday. Tony McCall, from the UTAS School of Government, said yesterday's story showed Mr Bartlett's "zeal for reform and transparency doesn't appear to extend to his personal habits". "So be it, but Extending Trust in Democracy should include a simple answer to a simple question," Mr McCall said. "His failure to respond does fit an emerging post-state party conference trend. "Since the conference, the doyens of the Labor Party have put a brake on his go-it-alone approach to government and that makes the manufacture of an answer a complex and contested task." Meanwhile, Mr Bartlett said parliament would be the proper place to discuss any proposal for random drug-testing politicians. "I believe in making informed decisions that are supported by evidence-based data," he said. "Nothing has been presented to me on this particular topic." Murchison independent MLC Ruth Forrest said random drug testing in workplaces was usually done when people were operating heavy machinery and/ or responsible for others' safety. `We might not be responsible for someone's immediate physical safety, but we are making decisions that affect people where they live and work. "We need to have our wits about us. "I would not have a problem (with testing) at all."