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Soft on drugs? Or going cuckoo?

Forget Media Watch. Today we bring you Media Release Watch, thanks to Dr Alex Wodak, President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation.

In his sights is a recent release from Andrew Stoner, the leader of the NSW Nationals.

Dr Wodak writes:

“Every spring in the United Kingdom there is a race to publish the first letter in ‘The Times’ reporting hearing a cuckoo.

This report documents what is believed to be the first shameless attempt by an Australian politician in 2010 to proclaim that his political opponents are ‘soft on drugs’.

On 14 January 2010, Acting NSW Opposition Leader Andrew Stoner issued a press release slamming ‘the State Labor Government for their soft stance on drugs’.

The reason?  Stoner had just discovered, by reading the Daily Telegraph that morning, that 130 needle vending machines operated across NSW and many were accessible to children. Shock! Horror!

Another achievement. Stoner managed in his 385 word press release to avoid mentioning ‘HIV’. Not even once. HIV may be responsible for one in six deaths in the world. And the sharing of needles and syringes may be responsible for one in ten new HIV infections in the world. But that did not stop Andrew Stoner.

Of course, the needle syringe programme was designed to stop injecting drug users in Australia from becoming infected with HIV. And to stop the rest of the community from acquiring HIV from injecting drug users.

All Australians have benefited hugely from the needle syringe programme. A study released by the Department of Health and Ageing in 2009 showed that for every dollar spent on needle syringe programmes this decade, five dollars of health care expenditure was avoided and 27 dollars overall was saved.

Stoner even had the gall to end his press release with the comment that ‘Families deserve better and they will get that under a Liberals & Nationals Government.’

What does ‘better’ mean? That more families will have a member with HIV infection because on forming government the Opposition will make sterile needles and syringes unavailable to injecting drug users?

Of course with a surname like Stoner, it is hard not to wonder what he was smoking before he wrote that press release.

It is time that the stunt of labelling political opponents as ‘soft on drugs’ was put to rest. Permanently.

It is time that politicians started criticising each other for being ‘soft on HIV’. Or soft on evidence.”

Comments 4

  1. Sancho says:

    Killer last paragraph from Wodak.

    Drug reform is well overdue in the Western world. It makes me want to brain myself with an iron bar when conservative politicians promise to get tough on organised crime, then turn straight around and argue for increased sentencing and prohibition on drugs.

    Where do the clowns think bikies and other crime gangs get their money? Are the Bandidos out there selling alcohol and tobacco? Of course not, because the legal status of those drugs makes the profit margins too low to bother with.

    Of all the issues the electorate forms an opinion on, this is the one based on the least information and most hysteria.

  2. Doctor Whom says:

    Soft on drugs – yes any talk of drugs seems to make a lot of politicians and media hacks brains go all soft and mushy.

    Maybe we could go “hard on drugs” like USA and fill our prisons with suckers who can’t afford a decent lawyer.

    Its always heroin and speed that pollies want to go hard on – not extasy or such drugs their middle class relatives kids might consume.

    Keeping clean needles away from people is like insisting bad drivers should be forced to drive unroadworthy cars or alcoholics should drink from dirty vegiemite jars or smokers should have weedkiller in their smokes…

  3. Terry Wright says:

    Spot on Sancho.

    They should have a money box in Canberra for each political party. It would be like a “swear jar” but instead of putting in a $1 coin for profanities, it would be for those politicians who say, “Soft on Drugs”. It would probably collect enough to fund the next election for the coalition.

    Stoner’s main complaint was with a booklet giving safety advice for drug users – “To put out a pamphlet that says Guide to a Better Night … I think it’s sending a message that to have a good night you ought to be taking drugs”. Yes, he really said that.

    Read more here: http://theaustralianheroindiaries.blogspot.com/2010/01/why-we-cant-trust-stoner.html

  4. What the says:

    Andrew Stoner is no dope.
    He just awarded $44,000 to a manufacturing facility for HEMP based food production near Nimbin. Hemp foods are currently ILLEGAL in Australia. His own cohorts in state government objected to hemp foods being legalised only a month ago.
    What is going on here? The police constantly object to this, as do the health ministers. Hemp foods are seen as sending a mixed message to the youth of Australia regarding the acceptance of Marijuana, and could also cause false positives at roadside police drug tests.
    If the food is not legal in this country, how can it be exported as a food or have any food type standards? How can he be so hard ball concerning drugs, yet so flippant when it comes to actual law, legislation and the want and desires of his fellow ministers. He has basically awarded a substantial amount of money to a company that is quite clearly treading a very, very grey line.

    What the!!

    See the Media release here:
    http://www.business.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/25616/rel_stoner_20121031_nrjp_projects.pdf

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2017 conferences
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Australian Palliative Care Conference
2018 conferences
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