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Notes on Adelaide

Going bananas in Mayo; cognitive cannabis dissonance

Notes on Adelaide

In today’s Notes on Adelaide, GetUp lays out banana skins for the Liberals in Mayo, and exactly how much medical marijuana has been prescribed in SA?

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Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

After eschewing the state election, progressive pressure group GetUp has decided to campaign in the upcoming Mayo by-election with protecting the ABC its key focus.

A “save the ABC” billboard has been put in Strathalbyn, with a similar mobile version soon to hit the streets of the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu-based seat.

GetUp volunteers have dusted off the Bananas in Pyjamas costumes used in previous pro-ABC campaigns, appearing at an election forum in Nairne last week.

And it’s clear which candidate is being targeted by the political banana skin.

“During the by-election, GetUp members in Mayo are holding Liberal candidate Georgina Downer to account for her clear anti-ABC views,” GetUp Adelaide organiser Paul Grillo told InDaily.

“The Liberals have ripped more than $330 million from the ABC’s budget since they have been in government.

“Georgina Downer’s own employer – the ultra-conservative thinktank, Institute of Public Affairs – last month published a book called Against Public Broadcasting…*

“Georgina Downer has said, ‘I wish the ABC would learn they are out of touch with mainstream Australia’. GetUp members think the Liberals’ attacks on the ABC are out of touch with mainstream Australia, and it will cost them dearly at the ballot box on Super Saturday.”

Grillo has promised that GetUp members will be working “on the ground” throughout Mayo in the lead-up to the July 28 by-election, attending candidate forums, presenting petitions, and funding the aforementioned billboards.

“And the Bananas in Pyjamas will continue to run around Mayo in pairs, catching candidates who want to slash their budget unawares,” Grillo said.

Somewhat boldly, the latter point is being used by the Liberals to attack the seat’s frontrunner, the Centre Alliance’s Rebekha Sharkie, after she was photographed with the “bananas” and a GetUp member at the Nairne forum.

The Advertiser reports that federal minister Craig Laundy, who has flown in to campaign with Downer, believes the photograph is evidence that Sharkie is part of some sort of Left-wing alliance. Sharkie, readers will recall, started her campaign with decidedly un-Left-wing MP Bob Katter by her side.

Laundy might want to consider that. He also might want to Google his own name and the word “GetUp” before his next statement on the matter:

As for Georgina Downer, she is doing her best to present a new, ABC-friendly face.

At the Nairne candidates’ forum, like all of the other candidates including Sharkie, she was positively glowing about the national broadcaster.

“It’s good to see B1 and B2 here, standing up for their ABC,” she said.

The audience had questioned all candidates about the Liberal national council voting in favour of privatising the ABC.

Downer, who trails Sharkie in the polls, ruled that out and went further.

“If I’m elected member for Mayo I will certainly stand up for a continued public broadcaster in Australia,” she said.

“I know how important it is for regional Australia. I know how important the ABC is for a continuation of independent, non-partisan, balanced news source for every Australian. And it’s my commitment that that will continue into the future.”

Cognitive dissonance

Cannabis, aka hemp, marijuana, weed: there’s much confusion about the different uses and value of the plant and the State Government probably isn’t helping.

The Liberals supported a move by the previous government to legalise the growing of industrial hemp, which can be used to make textiles, oil for cosmetic products and food products, but contains low amounts of the psychoactive compound THC.

The Liberals also support greater access to medical marijuana and greater education for doctors who, according to a report last week, are crying out for more information about how to prescribe it. Meanwhile, the Liberal Government is targeting marijuana in its so-called new “war on drugs” and plans to quadruple penalties for possession.

It’s a confusing conglomeration of messages, even given the fact that all cannabis isn’t created equal.

Last week, Health Minister Stephen Wade revealed in Parliament some data on the local uptake of medicinal marijuana, since a local “patient access pathway” was announced in April 2017.

Since then, he said, there have been 74 approvals granted by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for cannabis products in South Australia.

“Nationally there have been 755 approvals, which on that basis indicates that around 10 per cent of approvals nationally have been to South Australians, which is above our proportion of the national population,” he said.

Wade said that the evidence base to support doctors in making clinical decisions about when to prescribe medicinal cannabis was “developing”.

“As a result, I acknowledge that doctors have relatively little readily available information on what particular medicinal cannabis product they should prescribe for their patient’s condition and in what dose.

“Both the Commonwealth and the state are trying to address that, if you like, medical education need.”

The Government might like to consider adding the community to its education efforts.

Notes On Adelaide is a new column telling the inside stories of Adelaide people, institutions and issues. If you have information that you believe should be noted in this column, send us an email:

*The IPA has got in touch to insist that it did not publish “Against Public Broadcasting” by Chris Berg and Sinclair Davidson. Both are IPA senior fellows but the IPA says the book was written as “part of their employment, using facilities, resources, and time provided by RMIT University and subsequently published by Connor Court”.

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