Michael McCormack sent to hospital after drinking kava

National MP and former Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has ended up in hospital after getting a little too adventurous with a drink in the Pacific Islands.

The Riverina MP has traveled across the Pacific as part of a bipartisan parliamentary delegation, with the occasion marked by offering visitors sakau, a type of Micronesian kava.

Sakau is meant to be sipped rather than drunk, as it is much stronger than other types of kava, which are meant to be drunk whole.

“The problem is, I put up with it!” Mr. McCormack shared on Twitter.

“To show my respect for the local traditions, I drank the whole bowl of Sakau.”

McCormack was captured on video with his head in his hands before vomiting into a bucket and being taken to hospital for medical treatment.

“They did it in front of us, squeezing the juice out of these massive tree roots, just absolutely squeezing it. It had a peppery essence to it and I was fine for 10 or 15 minutes and then I thought, ‘Ooooh, OK ‘” he told the Guardian.

“I saw [the foreign Minister] Penny Wong and said, “I’m not well.” I went with crossed eyes. I really did. Then someone got me a bucket and, well, yeah.”

A non-alcoholic drink, sakau and other kavas are famous for their narcotic and sedative effects.

McCormack was taken to hospital to be treated for dehydration and “slept for 14 hours” while recovering.

“I feel much better now and it’s been a great opportunity to connect with our Pacific family at FSM,” he said.

Originally published as ‘Cross-eyed’: Drink sends Michael McCormack to hospital

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