Australian youth e-zine Vibewire is the latest group to discover the perils of emailing.  

Recently a volunteer sent an email using the phrase “Merry Crystalmeth” instead of “Merry Christmas” that was intended to remain in-house. But thanks to a finger slip, the email apparently went to anyone who has ever logged onto the Vibewire site – politicians, funding bodies etc – literally thousands of people across Australia.

Embarrassing? You bet. Today Vibewire issued an apology to everyone affected.

*Dear members*,

You would have received a newsletter this morning which should not have been sent to you and which contained a joke in poor taste for which we apologise. It was only intended to be sent to a small group of Vibewire volunteers, not to the full membership however this does not excuse the poor choice of words contained in the email. Vibewire takes very seriously issues around drug use and I deeply regret that we appeared to be making light of them in this instance. Please accept my apologies for this on behalf of everyone at

Apologies also to anyone who received the newsletter multiple times. There seems to be a kink in the newsletter system which we’re looking into. Hopefully it won’t happen again now.

Tom Dawkins
National Coordinator
Vibewire Inc.

Timing was not on Vibewire’s side, either. The destructiveness of crystal meth has been in the headlines in recent months, and a youth organisation making light of such an issue is not only embarrassing to its corporate sponsors, but detracts from the genuinely valuable work Vibewire does.

Further, young people and drugs were in the news last week when 22-year-old Iktimal Hage-Ali handed back her NSW Young Australian of the Year award amid allegations she had bought and used cocaine, an issue National Coordinator Tom Dawkins commented on in last Friday’s Crikey. In response to a piece by Peter Faris, he wrote:

I know Ms Hage-Ali and am aware of her energetic efforts to promote greater understanding between people of diverse cultural backgrounds in Australia, and her contribution to a number of youth initiatives. These efforts and contributions, it seems, count for nothing against a run-in with the law (she has not been charged, remember) over supposedly, personal use of cocaine. By contrast, one of the favourites for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, Illinois Senator Barack Obama, has, in his latest book The Audacity of Hope, admitted to using “a little blow”. And, surprise, this hasn’t disqualified him from serving his community at the highest levels. 

We tried to contact Dawkins for further comment but he was out of reach.