Victoria blocks supervised injecting room

Hamish Fitzsimmons - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

The Victorian Government has blocked a supervised injecting room planned by the Yarra Council to combat heroin dealing. A proposal for a medically supervised injecting room in one of Melbourne's inner-city suburbs has been dismissed by the Victorian Government. In a bid to control heroin use in the Richmond area, the Yarra Council voted in favour of an injecting room. Supporters say the injecting room in Sydney's Kings Cross successfully manages drug use, but opponents say law enforcement and education are better options.

Premier Ted Baillieu drops compulsory Aboriginal welcome

John Masanauskas - Herald Sun

The Baillieu Government says the compulsory Aboriginal welcome is too politically correct. Premier Ted Baillieu will no longer force ministers and public servants to acknowledge traditional Aboriginal land owners at official events. In a major policy shift that has upset some indigenous leaders, the State Government has dumped a Labor protocol as too politically correct. Brumby government ministers had to acknowledge the "traditional owners and custodians of this land". Mr Baillieu believes Labor's stance was dictatorial and has told his ministers that such acknowledgments aren't compulsory.

No help for unhappy families in the budget

Kevin Andrews - The Punch

It is regrettable that the Gillard Labor government didn’t bear in mind the theme of this year’s National Families Week when framing its Budget. The theme of the week is “Sticking Together – families in good times and tough times.” The Gillard government will rip $50 million from family support services from the next financial year. Family Relationship Centres will suffer funding cuts from January 1, 2012. Although the cut to the centres has been delayed until next year, it is estimated that 2,500 families will receive no service or wait up to three months for an initial assessment. These are families that are likely to end up in family court litigation without early intervention services. Bizarrely, almost $17 million will be redirected to legal assistance services. The Government is not only ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’; it seems intent on promoting rather than discouraging costly and emotionally-draining litigation.

Facebook trade in female images

Kara Irving - SMH

Images of scantily clad women are being widely circulated without their knowledge through a private "men's only" Facebook group, reigniting the debate for stricter privacy laws for social media in Australia. Since its inception two weeks ago, "The Brocial Network" has attracted more than 8000 members, including at least four players from a Melbourne-based AFL club. The site features hundreds of images of women in bikinis and lingerie, obtained from the personal Facebook photo albums of the members' female friends.

Planning for our failing

Philip Nitschke – Online Opinion

Sometimes I wonder if I should ever raise my head above the parapet. Some days it feels like new ideas are simply too hard. The publicity surrounding my most recent plans to establish voluntary euthanasia consulting clinics in Adelaide and Hobart ahead of likely pending legislation, has clearly raised more questions than I have been able to answer. So let's clear the air. In the words of the American Distinguished History Professor David Thelen, 'the challenge of history is to recover the past and introduce it to the present'. So, too, the idea of an Exit Clinic. Back in 1999 when I first floated the idea of a specialized clinic, I was threatened with deregistration by the Australian Medical Association. In apparent unison, Right to Life Australia announced I would be "thumbing [my] nose at the law on homicide". Like so many politicians before and after him, then Premier of Victoria Jeff Kennett, simply ran for cover.

Victorians pay $100,000 bill for addicts' sex and disease control

Padraic Murphy - Herald Sun

Victorian taxpayers have footed the bill for more than 2 million condoms - most of them flavoured - for drug users in the past 2 1/2 years, tender documents reveal. Taxpayers have also been slugged for almost 700,000 sachets of lubricant, as part of an add-on to a needle exchange program. The free prophylactic program means Victorian taxpayers supply more than 2000 condoms a day to drug users, at a cost of more than $100,000 a year. A spokesman for the Department of Health defended the program, saying it had saved more than $200 million over the past decade in medical costs and restricted the spread of infectious diseases.

Terrorist network thriving in Indonesian prison

Greg Sheridan - The Australian

Terrorists have set up shadow governments in Indonesian prisons, recruiting members, sending money from jail to jail and, at least once, co-ordinating an attack outside. They run businesses, use mobile phones to preach sermons to followers outside and dominate prison mosques, says a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. In Jihadists in Jail, Carl Ungerer paints a picture of terrorists manipulating the prison system and displaying a disturbing degree of freedom of movement. This has substantial operational consequences that have strengthened the terrorist threat, producing friendships and alliances among terrorists that cross over traditional organisational lines. For example, members of previously hostile groups, such as Jemaah Islamiah and Darul Islam, are co-operating with each other in the pursuit of jihad.

Australian scientists create stem cells from kidneys

Leyton Dayton – the Australian

Australian researchers have managed to "trick" human kidney cells into reverting to generalised cells able to develop into virtually any type of tissue in the body. In a world first, this seemingly esoteric achievement - done without the use of embryos - offers scientists a powerful new set of tools for studying the molecular mechanisms driving genetic kidney disorders such as polycystic kidney disease and Alport syndrome, as well as for testing new treatments for the diseases. In theory, these induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells might even be used to create stop-gap cells for seriously ill people facing long waits for a donor kidney, The Australian said.