Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nick Cowdery repeats call to end War on Drugs

On the same day that Tony Abbott is in the news suggesting that judges be elected (rather than appointed) to enable ever-tougher sentencing, Director of Public prosecutions Nick Cowdery has criticised existing 'get tough on law and order' policies as being too responsive to the 'ranting' of the tabloid media,"  as reported in The Australian.

This divide of conservative and progressive thought occurs against an underlying trend of overall crime actually reducing according to crime statisticians.
Mr Cowdery said the current approach to illicit drugs was "ineffective, wasteful and inconsiderate of the human rights of those concerned".

"I would decriminalise drug possession and use and small-scale trafficking," he said.

Mr Cowdery believes the only area of drug use that should remain a crime should be large-scale commercial enterprises.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Do I look good in the battle at El Alamein?

Mr Gormly ... "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Photo: Helen Nezdropa
Photographers generally hate being photographed -- you know how the picture never matches your self-image.

So it's weird seeing my picture in today's Sydney Morning Herald, in a story about our local campaign against the demolition and redevelopment of Fitzroy Gardens .

Forget the issues -- I look like a sad, sagging old bloke instead of the fit, statuesque Adonis I feel myself to be.

But the story's not bad for a brief summary. Council justifies their intention to remove over 5,000 convict bricks by saying they "appear to have been imported from elsewhere" -- like, perhaps Japan?

No, wherever they came from, they "appear" to have been in situ for 40 years now and, unlike a museum piece or a brass plaque are still functioning as they were intended to - forming useful walls, and totally in the public domain where people can appreciate them and touch part of the earliest white history in Australia.

The story mentions key points like the rally to be held tomorrow and the unsuitability of opening up the entertainment precinct to the residential precinct behind via a new visual boulevarde running past the police station.

Clover Moore's latest pro-redevelopment letter is quoted, saying the ''renewal will respect the park's extensive heritage since 1939."

How does demolishing something respect its heritage? Mind you, the sentence is a finely crafted piece of spin, using their current buzzword "renewal" when the Local Action Plan says "refresh"; and it refers to lost 1939 heritage and ignores the heritage-listed 1971 layer of significance, as per the whole Council justification for their radical plans.

[at 5.16am there were three people reading the SMH story. Hello to those anonymous kindred spirits - or are they Council spin-doctors girding themselves for another day battling the residents they are supposed to represent? Hullo! at 5.18 there were six people reading it! It's the new craze!]

But that story is only a tame introduction to local writer Delia Falconer's opinion piece in the same edition, headlined: "Council's plan to rip out heart of the Cross". [Mind you, only two people were reading it at 5.22am! -- but the day is still young).

More on that on the Save Fitzroy Gardens website!