Letters / Festival pill testing isn’t definitive

THE ACT government has approved a pill testing trial at the Spilt Milk festival in November. Without doubt it will be found “successful” despite the fact our youth can’t be told definitively if their ecstasy pills, and probably others, are safe or not.

Recently an American pill-testing body noted that tablets sold as ecstasy in 2015 went through comprehensive lab tests. Published results found a total of 134 substances other than MDMA and that the reagent pill tests can at best distinguish between only eight of these chemicals.

A full suite of seven different pill-testing kits could only distinguish 16 chemicals in addition to MDMA. This means that any of the 118 other chemicals could be present but undetected.

Until all Australian health authorities agree that pill testing is truly safe none should be approved.

Colliss Parrett, Drug Advisory Council Australia, Barton

Failing duty of care

COLUMNIST Michael Moore (CN, September 21) wrote the Safe Schools Program is just about students putting themselves in the shoes of a more vulnerable person.

As one of the 998 Canberrans who signed the petition expressing serious concerns about the SSP, I ask why is it necessary for year 7 students to explore how a young lesbian feels sexual attraction? (“All of us”, p 22). And how does it increase student empathy to be told that a bisexual “may be having sexual or romantic experiences with the same sex and still be equally or more attracted to the opposite sex”? (“All of us”, p 27). Also how does it increase the comfort of all students to be told: “You can be attracted to a whole spectrum of masculinity and femininity…” (“All of us”, p 24).

The unedited, original classroom program “All of us” giving students links to an alternative sexuality culture, and hence the adult sex industry, is still available on the internet for Victorian schools.

It is appalling that the ACT government in its wisdom has developed new SSP resources for ACT schools in liaison with Victoria. This is not a duty of care for our school students.

Arthur Connor, via email

Not allowed an opinion

FURTHER to Michael Moore’s column on the populist dangers to feeling safe at school (CN, September 21): The Safe Schools Program has nothing to do with kids being bullied, it is about pushing the LGBTIQ agenda, and they are in the minority.

Bullying could be countered far more readily and with no hidden agendas by simply reinforcing that bullying for any reason is wrong.

I have no problem with LGBTIQ; they are human just like everyone else. I do not try to change them so why can’t they let us be. If they want to be genderless or whatever, then that is their choice, but why should they make us part of their plan? Do we the majority not have a say in being called ladies and gentlemen, boys or girls. Do not the fathers have the right to celebrate Father’s Day and the mothers to celebrate Mother’s Day if they want to?

So Michael’s article about the minority is rubbish. Without justification, they are allowed to say we are bigots and homophobes for possibly voting “No” in the same-sex marriage survey, which means the “No” voters are not allowed an opinion. That doesn’t sound very democratic to me.

Vi Evans via email

Please explain…

WAS the director-general of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development, Ben Ponton, wrong when, in signing Technical Amendment (TA) 2012-06 into law, placed on the public record that it introduced new codes and Precinct Maps, and amended Zone Development Tables?

It’s not for me to say. The Chief Minister’s Directorate has told me that I was “advised that action would be taken if there were further unwarranted accusations against [any] officer in relation to this matter.”

Ponton’s original claims were controversial. The Planning and Development Act says that Territory Plan variations – other than Technical Amendments – must be referred to the Minister and the Legislative Assembly. It says that Technical Amendments may transfer provisions within the Territory Plan, but it does not say the same about creating codes or creating Precinct Maps.

Ponton later wrote that “the reformatting of the Territory Plan introduced with technical amendment (TA) 2012-06 … merely relocated provisions to precinct maps and/or codes”. The Chief Minister’s Directorate found this to be “a reasonable and unremarkable summary of the main thrust of TA2012-06”.

Given his directorate’s finding, can the Chief Minister explain how, on the day that TA 2012-06 came into effect, the Territory Plan was changed to (A) introduce a new Development Code and new Precinct Codes, (B) introduce the term “Precinct Map”, (C) introduce more than 100 Precinct Maps and (D) amend Zone Development Tables in a way that authorised Precinct Maps to permit or prohibit developments?

Leon Arundell, Downer


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