Some nuggets of ACT election news:
- Chief Minister Katy Gallagher today announced that her government would push for a needle and syringe exchange program for prisoners at Alexander Maconochie Centre.
It will be based on a one-for-one model, where prisoners exchange a dirty needle for a clean needle, overseen by medical professionals.
Drug counselling and support will be offered alongside the needle exchange.
The proposed needle exchange has been mired in political limbo for years, facing strident opposition from the guards’ union and the opposition.
The government plan will make the ACT the first jurisdiction in Australia and the English-speaking world to have a needle exchange in a prison setting.
An implementation group will now be created and Ms Gallagher hopes to have the needle exchange operational by next year.
The Greens support the decision, while the Liberal Party opposes it:
“If [people] vote Labor and Green, they’ll have a needle exchange at the jail,” [Opposition corrections spokesman Jeremy Hanson] said.
“If they vote Liberal, they won’t have a needle exchange at the jail.”
He said the needle exchange would lead to the normalisation and quasi-legalisation of drugs in the jail.
- Elections ACT recently posted a list of two political donations declared so far in 2012. The National branch of the Liberal Democrats donated $1,500 to the ACT branch, and the ACT Liberals received $1,800 from an individual. Full details of 2010/2011 financial year donations are also available.
- Nine political parties are officially registered to contest the 2012 election, including new registrants Marion Lê Social Justice Party and Bullet Train for Canberra. Marian Lê is a local social justice advocate who recently explained to City News her motivation for seeking election:
“I decided to stand because, for a long while, I have thought there is a need for a voice in the Assembly that can provide independent advocacy for people who feel they don’t have a voice and who feel the Assembly is removed from them,” Mrs Le said.
“I believe we need a community advocate on the benches as the Greens haven’t really provided that. There are a lot of people who come to me for assistance who don’t know their local members and who don’t understand what the Liberal and Labor brands really stand for.”
Bullet Train for Canberra’s platform is rather self-explanatory, and the party’s Facebook page includes some compelling, tongue-in-cheek arguments for high speed rail: