I fully agree with "There is a way, but 'just say no' is not it" (Editorial, September 15).
The "war on drugs" was declared over 50 years ago, nothing has changed. In fact more people are using illicit drugs today. The cost must be close to $20 billion. Large numbers of people in prison, more costs. Seizure rates, the same as in the 1980s, about 10 per cent. Thousands of people have died needlessly. Thousands of families destroyed, for what? So politicians, can pretend that voters will except their failure, as long as politicians, keep feeding voters with lies.
It's a relentless, nonsensical obsession, with failure, a failure of monumental proportions. I find it almost impossible to believe that after all these years of failure and the many state and federal inquiries, all recommending treating drug dependence as a health problem. Governments continue to waste billions of taxpayers money. Nothing has changed.
I call it, Australia's largest policy failure is "the war on drugs". It is clearly a shameful embarrassment to this country. Other countries have achieved great success in drug law reform. Evidence is there to see. All this evidence is ignored by our politicians. They have to protect their "just say no" failure.
Michael Gardiner, Coombs
Getting off gas
In 1995, we applied for a connection to the reticulated gas supply, mainly so our home heating and cooktop would be cheaper to operate, more effective and produce fewer emissions than our previous electric heating devices. We closed our gas account 23 years later for the same reasons. Electric appliances are now cheaper to operate, more efficient and effective and the ACT's electricity supply is cleaner.
Similarly, our two plug-in cars are cheaper to run, nicer to drive and cleaner to operate than their predecessors. Neither cost over $25K bought used or ex-demo. In criticising the ACT government's emission reduction plans for the next 25 years, Mr Coe appears to suggest that inaction on climate change is an option. Not if we care about our children.
Peter Campbell, Cook
Inclusivity should be flagged
I agree with several letter writers that the current Australian flag is unacceptable. My reasoning is that the existence of the Union Jack, without corresponding symbols representing Indigenous heritage, is a perpetual insult to Indigenous Australians. Reconciliation is impossible until this insult ends. The current practice of flying three separate flags was well intentioned, but is divisive and indicates that Indigenous people are not Australians.
A national competition should be held to determine a replacement flag. After shortlisting by several committees, and an opinion poll or plebiscite on the shortlisted entries, a decision should be made by Parliament. Preferably an initial shortlisting could be made by Australia Day 2020 and a final decision by National Reconciliation Week (May- June) 2020.
My suggested solution to the current unacceptability is a compromise of ideas recently published.
I propose that the Union Jack be replaced by four smaller flags (e.g. the Aboriginal flag, the Torres Strait Islander flag, the Union Jack, and a symbol representing the heritage of all Australians) along the left side of the flag. The order would represent the timing of the four major migrations.
I would retain the generally popular Southern Cross, and make it the most conspicuous element of the flag by increasing the size of the stars. The colours of the stars and background of the cross should match Australia's national colours which need to be decided. For simplicity the Federation Star could be deleted.
R. Salmond Melba
The bright side?
There is one good thing about petrol price-gouging. It encourages motorists to buy hybrid or electric cars.
Hugh Smith, Deakin
Get dogs on board
I was delighted to read the ACT's Climate Change Minister, Shane Rattenbury, wants to "Copenhagenise" Canberra's transport system. I trust this means that, like the Danes, we will be allowed to take small dogs in carriers or boxes on public transport and larger dogs will be allowed to travel on a child's ticket. If Mr Rattenbury really wants to get us out of our cars, he should allow dogs on public transport. At the moment I need a car just so I can take my dog to the vet or kennels.
Felicity Chivas, Ainslie
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