Letters / Prison officers should decide on needles

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COLUMNIST Michael Moore seeks a needle-exchange program in the Alexander Maconochie Centre (“Prison guards ‘should not set policy'”, CN, July 25). He writes that “while there had been breakthroughs in anti-viral medicines, prevention was better – and cheaper in this case – than a cure”.

The problem is that a needle-exchange program is not preventative because it allows the practice to continue in the form of “exchange”. The golden public health rule in combating drug epidemics is that if the number of first-time users does not continue to fall, the epidemic will inevitably widen.

And a closer examination allows the community not to approve such a move. Surely it is against social order and justice to reward in our jail what are regarded in the community as law-breaking actions, because they keep happening.

Colliss Parrett, Barton

Why not social housing?

COLUMNIST Paul Costigan (CN, August 9) says: “The community is not against public housing – but just not on the Dickson Parklands”. The same could be – and is – said about any location for which public housing is proposed. There are certainly some interesting things happening in Section 72, but nowhere does Mr Costigan explain why social housing should not be one of them.

Helmut Simon, Watson

Supermarkets do help out

WHILE prices paid to farmers, particularly dairy farmers, are deplorable, if columnist Robert Macklin (“When charity begins at the till”, CN, August 9) were to physically get his hands dirty and work in a charity store, he would know that supermarkets contribute generously to food staples.

Christian church members and other charity members contribute weekly to supply food to those in need, but sometimes they cannot keep up and the shelves are bare. The supermarkets stock the shelves both with basics and with food reaching use-by dates.

If Coles has offered to collect donations at the till as shoppers pass through to pay for their own shopping, good on them. Not everyone responds to requests for donations, but a reminder at the till prompts people to remember those in need.

And that, Mr Macklin, “is what really swells the heart”.

Rewa Bate, Coombs

Attention, comrades

I UNDERSTAND Chief Minister Barr is moving to gender equality in the Assembly by deleting gender-specific references such as “him”, “her” etcetera.  

A simple solution to this perceived problem in the Assembly, when addressing fellow MLAs, is to simply refer to each other as “comrade”.  I’m sure Labor Party members would have no objection and be in full agreement to this proposal. This would then be gender neutral.

Cedric Bryant, Watson

Setting the Downer record right

YES, Downer residents may take some pride in “a tenuous link to the building of our great nation” (“Alexander sets the bar for Downer”, Seven Days, August 9).

However, many will still remember the clear lack of interest and follow-up by then-shadow minister Alexander Downer MP in the late 1980s when the Downer community formally suggested to him, on a number of occasions, the donation from the Downer family of a clock to grace the result of a major revitalisation of the suburb’s community square area, an endeavour organised and managed by the local volunteer-based Downer Bicentennial Project group.

Fortunately, the local Labor MP at the time stepped into the breach and provided a clock. Sir John Downer may have been a nation builder in the late 19th century but his grandson could not be bothered supporting, in a small way, his namesake suburb in the 20th century.

Sue Dyer, Downer

Dog poop everywhere!

GRUMPY from Curtin (CN, July 26) and Sue Randall (Letters, August 9) are not alone in bearing the brunt of the actions of irresponsible dog owners.

Dog ownership in Canberra has increased with an even greater increase in irresponsible owners.

A north Curtin reserve, used as an off-leash area, is continually being fouled by dogs as a matter of course at an ever increasing rate, including the footpath, which runs through the area.

This situation has now reached the stage where the North Curtin Oval is being fouled by dogs. Recently, when crossing the oval, there were three lots of dog faeces along the straight route I took. I hate to think how many more there were!

With all of the money spent by the ACT government on dog exercise paddocks, it’s about time the dog regulations were reviewed with a view to returning to prohibiting dogs on ovals and requiring dogs in public areas to be kept on a leash.

Barry Smith, via email

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