12 May 2017

The newspaper reports an internal, almost , punchup over the topic of medical cannabis…


Several sources last night confirmed the exchange in which Mr Blair lost his temper over what the Nationals saw as a failure by Mr Hazzard to brief the party properly over a Labor Bill that sought to further liberalise the use of medicinal cannabis.

Mr Hazzard is said to have responded to Mr Blair tersely when he asked some questions on the matter, after which Mr Blair made the comment.Mr Hazzard last night confirmed that a heated exchange took place but declined to comment further. Mr Blair also declined to comment.

The issue of medicinal cannabis has become an issue for the Nationals in the bush.

Even though former premier Mike Baird eased laws on medical use of the drug, there is a push for greater liberalisation from people such as Lucy Haslam, the mother of medicinal cannabis campaigner Dan Haslam, who died of cancer in 2015.

Labor’s Bill decriminalises possession and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Cancer patients, for example, would not be charged for using cannabis as part of their treatment.

A government source said last night that Mr Hazzard had been “arrogant” to Mr Blair. “It’s just him [Mr Hazzard],” the MP said. “That’s his personality.”

The MP accused Mr Hazzard of not being properly across his brief when it came to the issues of medicinal cannabis and a Shooters and Fishers Party’ proposal to have registered nurses in nursing homes, and of being dismissive towards Mr Blair, the deputy Nationals leader.

“It was ugly, there was almost a (fight),” one MP said.

Sources said Mr Blair had taken issue with Mr Hazzard not going to him or government upper house leader Don Harwin over legislation. Mr Hazzard had said if Duncan Gay was still upper house leader he would have gone to him, sparking the argument.