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Garrett pressured to take drug test

By staff writers

July 10, 2007 07:06am

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  • Garrett pressured to take drug test
  • Silverchair frontman says Garrett smoked joints
  • Both singers say comment "was a joke"

FEDERAL Labor MP Peter Garrett is under pressure to take a drug test following claims by Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns that the two smoked joints with U2 lead singer Bono in Sydney.

During a radio interview with Triple J yesterday, Johns described how he and singer wife Natalie Imbruglia had been invited, along with the former Midnight Oil frontman, to a house rented by Bono while he was in Sydney in November.

"It was really one of the most surreal moments of my life," Johns said.

"It was me and Natalie and Peter Garrett and Bono laying on Bono's bed smoking joints, listening to Young Modern demos."

Hours later - after being contacted by Mr Garrett's office - Johns issued a lengthy statement describing that claim as a "stupid" and saying "I really should just shut up and stick to singing."

"(Bono and Mr Garrett) are both known to be very anti-drugs, so that's why I assumed everybody would know I was joking when I made that comment," he said.

"I was fortunate enough to get to play them some of my demos but I swear no joints were involved.

"I guess I felt like a bit of a namedropper mentioning them on the radio, so that's why I added a silly throwaway joke."

Just a joke

A spokeswoman for Mr Garrett yesterday said: "We confirm Daniel Johns' statement saying that it was a joke."

Kate Pasterfield later quoted her boss Mr Garrett as saying: "I tried a bit of dope in my 20s but I haven't since."

Mr Garrett has been reluctant to discuss whether he has any experience with drugs, refusing to address the issue in a 2004 interview.

"That's a part of my life which is closed," he told 3AW.

Random drug tests

Anti-drugs campaigner Tony Wood, whose daughter Anna died of an ecstasy overdose in 1995, said Mr Garrett could prove his innocence by being tested for marijuana.

He also called for the introduction of random drug tests at all levels of government.

"These people are our leading figures," he said. "If they're going into Parliament and they're stoned, how can they be making decisions on our behalf?

"It's about time we got out and started getting tough on them."

Johns "irresponsible"

Drug prevention groups slammed Johns' comments as irresponsible.

Family Drug Support founder Tony Trimingham, whose son Damien died of a heroin overdose in 1997, said Johns' remarks did more harm than good.

"He might see it as a joke, but he should realise that he is a role model and what people like him say influences young people," Mr Trimingham said.

"The whole point is, whether it's happened or not, it's the public raising of the act that's irresponsible, as far as I'm concerned.

"Peter Garrett should be saying something along the lines of what I'm saying, I would have thought, given that he's now in a position of huge responsibility."

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Peter Garrett / Mark Williams
Smokin' ... Federal Labor MP Peter Garrett is under pressure to take a drug test after Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns said the two smoked joints with U2 lead singer Bono at a rented house in Sydney.

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Have Your Say

Latest Comments:

My proposal would be for a sizable sum (say $1,000,000) to be offered to Peter Garrett if he takes a test and passes. If he does not pass then nothing should be paid to him. Those that are calling for him to be tested should have no problems raising the money. If he has been falsely accused it would be fair compensation considering the guilty till proven implications of the calls that he be tested. Come on accusers - put your money where your mouths are.

Posted by: Bill of Sydney 1:00pm today

I think all of those arguing that "my drug of choice is better than your drug of choice for (x) reason" are kidding themselves. Fact is there are those who can smoke ciggarettes for 80 years and not die of cancer, and those who will die in their mid 20's. Likewise I'm sure everyone here has met someone who should just never drink as it turns them into a thug (or worse). Same with pot - the vast majority of folks are fine with it, but there are certainly some that aren't. The crucial point here is that the current policy on drugs has no discernable effect on overall drug abuse in society, costs billions of dollars every year and exists only to "send strong messages" of which there is not a stitch of evidence anywhere that anyone is listening to them. So now rudd has come out and stated he is as tough, if not tougher than JWH on pot. He just lost my vote. How about some real options when it comes to the war on drugs and politics?

Posted by: Pat of brisbane 12:18pm today

steve of brisbane (308), my rights as an employee have to fit in with my condition of employment that i agree to when i get hired for work. An employer has a right to know of an employee's health and mental condition, that's what makes them fit for a job. That's part of the condition of work, it's called responsibility. You have to meet the requirements set out in a contract, which you negotiate upon being hired. If the job's not for you then you don't work. It's like arguing about your RIGHTS to wear thongs on a construction site. Rights are necessary but some people are so PETTY with rights it's ridiculous! Comment 312 is a simplistic example of this. PS, natural plant = good? Haha, so it's okay to absorb a nice chunk of stinging nettle or poison ivy? Hippies are crazy...

Posted by: responsibilty 12:16pm today
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