Liberal And Labor MPs Support Grace Tame’s Bong, But Their Party Policies Don’t Back It Up
Politicians from all sides jumped in to rightfully defend Tame over the photo, so where are their policies on legalisation?
Thousands of people — including some politicians — have shown their support for Grace Tame after she made headlines on Monday when an old photo of her with a bong surfaced on social media.
For what it’s worth, the photo was taken in 2014, when Tame was just 19 years old and is something she had deleted from her Instagram when the story came to light (although she has since re-shared it on Twitter).
Alright, I confess, we were doing a cover of ‘April Sun in Cuba’. On the oboe. pic.twitter.com/MKKsm7EF3y
— Grace Tame (@TamePunk) February 15, 2022
Clearly, it’s a non-issue, and people from both sides of politics quickly jumped in to condemn this obvious and lazy attempt at a smear campaign.
But while support is all well and good, it’s more than a little weird to see politicians jumping on the trend to admit that weed truly isn’t that bad when they’re the same people who are voting against progressive cannabis policies in Parliament.
Politicians Back Grace Tame (And Her Bong)
Liberal MP Dave Sharma was quick to point out that he is “sure there is a photo of [himself] like that.” However, Sharma has voted in favour of drug testing welfare recipients and his party has a staunch position against recreational legalisation.
In a statement provided to Junkee, Sharma clarified his position on drug testing: “I support measures to help welfare recipients who are struggling with abuse issues to find and access support and assistance.”
I am sure there is a photo of me like that.
I don’t think this stuff is remotely in the public interest.
— Dave Sharma (@DaveSharma) February 14, 2022
Labor’s Stephen Jones also chimed in to the conversation, in reply to former PM Malcolm Turnbull’s son. Jones has repeatedly voted against drug testing welfare recipients, however, Labor is against recreational use.
— Stephen Jones MP (@StephenJonesMP) February 14, 2022
Jones doubled down on his comments after Tame re-uploaded the photo herself.
This gave me a well mannered smile https://t.co/Vw1SHm5h2y
— Stephen Jones MP (@StephenJonesMP) February 15, 2022
The Greens’ Adam Bandt — who also votes consistently against drug testing welfare recipients — didn’t beat around the bush, asserting that “marijuana should be legal.”
1. Marijuana should be legal.
2. Women who speak out against the establishment shouldn’t get a target on their back.
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) February 14, 2022
It’s unsurprising that The Australian Greens — who have a clear pro-legalisation policy — have also made two separate Instagram posts about the story.
Port Phillip Deputy Mayor Tim Baxter also admitted he enjoyed his fair share of bongs in his youth.
Oh no! Grace Tame once smoked a bong?!?!?
I'm the Deputy Mayor and I smoked bongs as a teenager. And I've still never been as cool as Grace Tame.
— Cr Tim Baxter 🏳️⚧️ (@BaxterTim) February 14, 2022
Darcy Byrne, the Labor Mayor of Sydney’s Inner West Council, also supported Tame.
Putting out photos of the much respected former Australian of the Year partying as a youth is beyond pathetic.
Grace Tame’s manners are fine, it’s the politicians scraping the bottom of the barrel that need to learn about respect.
— Darcy Byrne (@MayorDarcy) February 14, 2022
What Do The Parties Think Of Weed?
Cannabis is only legal in Australia for medicinal purposes (with the exception of the ACT), but even then, it’s wildly expensive and has some major accessibility issues for most people. And with an election coming up, it’s about time we have a look at how the major parties feel about weed.
The Liberal Party supports the use of cannabis, but only for medical use, and as we near the end of Scott Morrison’s first full term in office, very little has been done to make medicinal cannabis more affordable or accessible — as it is notably absent from the PBS.
There is no mention of marijuana/cannabis/weed in the Liberal Party’s platform, or on its website.
The Australian Labor Party mirrors the Liberal Party when it comes to cannabis, in that it supports medicinal use but not recreational legalisation. When it comes to accessibility, there is no word from Labor on whether it would consider subsidising medicinal cannabis under the PBS.
Any mention of marijuana/cannabis/weed is missing from Labor’s platform.
The Greens, on the other hand, have an extensive public stance on cannabis — for both medicinal and recreational purposes. The official policy aims to legalise, regulate and tax recreational cannabis nationwide.
Under the Greens’ approach, you would need a license to produce or sell cannabis, with penalties imposed for selling unlicensed. However, you could grow up to six plants at home for personal use. Cannabis would be taxed (specific percentages are unknown but likely similar to alcohol/tobacco) and advertising would be banned.
While this is all well and good, it’s important to note that The Greens have virtually no hope of passing this legislation without the support of one of the major parties.
Is There Any Hope For Legalisation Soon?
While it seems like every person in politics gave their hot take on weed following the viral Grace Tame picture, the topic of legalising recreational cannabis isn’t even really up for discussion at the moment.
We may see some improvement at a state level — as has happened in the ACT previously — but federally speaking, the conversation isn’t happening right now. And with the two major parties being against anything more than medicinal cannabis, it seems unlikely that will change any time soon.