It’s been a while since a wrote my last post; it feels as if I’ve been really busy and that a lot has been happening in my personal life, at work and otherwise. In the other category, something that has occupied part of my time is the current media interest in the Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (MSIC) in Kings Cross. I’ll discuss this in a moment.
Firstly, on the personal front, I bought a suit today – a very nice one that was fortuitously in the end-of-season sales. I need a suit for events, work and conferences, but have been without for a while. I have always liked Ted Baker suits, especially the ones with faint stripes of various colours, but unfortunately a dominant preconception is that you won’t be taken seriously wearing such a suit, and so I bought a black suit with faint blue stripes. I wanted to buy a suit with stripes! Perhaps I’ll buy a more colourful one in time.
Also, today I started to write my talk for the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid in August. I know I’m a procrastinator – which is why I have to force myself to start it now, otherwise I will be making the slides up when in Madrid – I’m not going to end up doing this! It’s only a 20 minute talk, which means you have to get across just your key points, and also perhaps lend a smell or taste of the core of the work. So writing the talk is one of my key tasks in the next two weeks.
Work has been busy – we essentially completed one smal/medium sized project (which of course involved a lot of work) and before going overseas we have to essentially complete a significant part of a really important project, which can be likened to an enormous complicated multidimensional jigsaw, which has to all fit together nicely. The next fortnight will be intense.
On the local front, Sydneysiders will know of the recent media reports on the Kings Cross Medically Supervised Injecting Centre, which seems to have become again the target of media interest due to its recent five year operating anniversary, the upcoming potential renewal of its license under state legislation (apparently in about 18 months or so), a continuing campaign by a minority of local business operators/owners to either shut it down or move it to St Vincents hospital in Darlinghurst, a now-defunct campaign by a new residents association, the CERA (City-edge residents association) which appears to be run by people associated with some local businesses, to shut it down or move it to St Vincents, and the state Liberal opposition leader’s pledge to shut it down if he becomes Premier of NSW in the March 2007 state election. My understanding is that the Health Minister can shut it down effectively whenever they want to.
The appalling thing is that the Daily Telegraph has been publishing absolutely garbage stories on the MSIC. For example, last Thursday the ‘Tele carried a picture of syringes apparently in public out the back of the injecting centre, and the implication of the story was that someone had somehow got hold of these syringes (which the MSIC staff had disposed of in the correct way) and that the public could be at risk from them. Apparently the MSIC was a honeypot for users.
Now the Kings Cross police have stated on at least one occasion that the MSIC is NOT a honeypot for users. But let’s leave this to the side for the moment. Apparently the syringes had not been used. Also, they were not the brand of syringe provided by the MSIC, and I have been told that that brand of syringe isn’t even made available in the area. So let’s get this straight. A bunch of unused syringes that are not used in the MSIC and are in all likelihood were not obtained in the local area are found out the back of the MSIC. What’s going on here?
A number of local businesses say it’s not unusual for needles to be in public in that area. This might be true, and if it is it is something to look at and deal with, especially if they pose a potential problem to the public and to people wanting to find a needle.
What’s going on here?
The next day (Friday), we were treated to further rubbishy stories – one in which people were “upset” at claims that the needles must have been dumped there – there were no stories about how strange it was the needles had been there.
This story just smells as if was a set-up by someone who wants the MSIC to shut or to move elsewhere. Would I put money on it? No, but I would put money on someone who wants the MSIC to shut or to move having been involved in the bag of unused needles being out the back of the MSIC.
On a positive note, the local branch of the ALP has reaffirmed its support for the MSIC, the local independent state MP is supportive of it, and the local liberal candidate for the state election has indicated to me via e-mail that he has an open mind on it, and that, if the Liberals won the state election and he won his seat, he would lobby on behalf of it if he thought that was the right thing to do.