I broke bread with our newest leader and one of our longest-serving PMs this week, joining Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to unveil what is on its way to becoming Australia’s first medicinal cannabis farm, as well as former Prime Minister John Howard in Dubbo. I joined Barnaby in his electorate, as Lucy Haslam began her next steps to cultivate medicinal cannabis, purchasing a property she and husband Lou have dedicated to their son Dan.
Lucy Haslam has been an unstoppable force in the medicinal marijuana movement since discovering Dan’s severe chemotherapy-induced nausea could only be staved off by the drug. Ms Haslam tirelessly campaigned following Dan’s death to legalise medicinal cannabis in NSW with the unwavering support of Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson.
Dan always wished for a farm of his own, and this farm named in his honour, determination and spirit, is a great milestone for true warriors of the heart. This is also a great result for one of our hardest working MPs who took on the fight to allow our most vulnerable patients in NSW to safely access medicinal cannabis to NSW Parliament, and as a result, could even see the establishment of a medicinal cannabis manufacturing plant in Tamworth.
As Leader of the NSW Nationals, I’m supportive of the prospect of another agricultural industry this state, as this Government invests $9 million into clinical trials and $12 million into our Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation. Our clinical trials explore the use of cannabis for providing relief for patients suffering from severe paediatric epilepsy; chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting and symptom relief for terminal illness.
Meeting both John Howard and Barnaby Joyce within a 24-hour period is cause to reflect on our national leadership. At 11 years, 8 months and 22 days, John Howard is the second longest-serving Prime Minister in our nation’s history. We look back at John Howard’s leadership, providing certainty to the nation’s and foreign challenges, and we crave that fortitude and leadership to emanate from our nation’s capital once more.
We have had five prime ministers in the last five years. This has us all hoping the Joyce/Turnbull Government provides stability and security that the Howard Government - in a supportive coalition with Tim Fischer, Mark Vaile and John Anderson - enjoyed. As Leader of the NSW Nationals, I pledge our support for the solid leadership that the nation craves.