A grim future for the ABC under Abbott

Peter Matters writes: Re. “In the shadow of redundancies, ABC staff set to work for a new year” (January 23). The grim lessons to be learned from the Abbott government are so compelling that the incoming government will more than likely place both ABC and SBS on a finance footing similar to Medicare, finance SBS without resorting to ads and make sure that all board appointments are made without government input of any kind.

On the Bali Nine and the relative risk of drugs

Dr Bruce Graham writes: Re. “Rundle: did the AFP trade away the lives of the Bali Nine?” (January 23) Guy Rundle may be correct about the moral and political framework surrounding the Bali Nine, but he is wrong about the relative hazards of opiates and cocaine.  There is a reasonable case, on harm minimisation grounds, for legal prescribing of heroin. Better quality supply and safe injecting rooms would almost fully eliminate deaths. Cocaine is a cardiovascular stimulant. Some people who take it in recreational doses will die no matter what you do. Opiates (and heroin is not enough different than fentanyl to matter, for this discussion) are the backbone of pain management in hospitals. Cocaine remains legally available as a  vasoconstrictive local anaesthetic, but its use has disappeared because of insurmountable safety concerns.

Bob Smith writes: Good stuff. Please keep it up. What they did was crook. It was up to the AFP to decide with the Indonesian police how and when to apprehend them. They do not deserve to get out of jail any time soon, nor do they deserve to die. They do not deserve to live because they are Australian but because they are human. That they have learnt the error of their ways is an additional reason to let them live.

Mark Worrad writes: Just a thought. Has any attempt been made at a prisoner exchange? That would enable the Indonesian government to save face and hopefully spare the lives of these fellows.

Peter Fray

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