In Mick Palmer to Editor, Daily Telegraph I published the full text of a letter submitted to the editor of The Daily Telegraph on 11 February 2014, in response to an article by Miranda Devine, published in the Telegraph on 8 February, and a link to the edited version of the letter published on 14 February.
Below is the text of a follow-up letter sent by Mr Palmer yesterday to Associate Editor Sarrah Le Marquand.
Thank you for your recent advice concerning my response to Miranda Devine’s opinion piece on 8 February 2014 on ending the drug culture and for running an edited version of my reply in last Friday’s edition of the Daily Telegraph.
I must admit, however, to being disappointed on two counts.
Firstly, that your newspaper would publish an edited version of a response on such an important topic without making any public acknowledgement that the published response had been edited.
Secondly, that the editing appeared to be aimed at weakening the impact of my response and minimising any criticism of Ms Devine.
In particularly, I draw your attention to the following excerpts from my original letter which were omitted from the published version:
The Howard government launched its “Tough on Drugs Strategy” in 1997. Yet behind the scenes the Howard government was the first Commonwealth Government to help fund the needle and syringe programmes run by the states and territories. The Howard government also allocated a lot of funding to help move drug offenders from the criminal justice system to drug treatment… In my opinion these were all excellent policies but they were all harm reduction rather than simply ‘Tough on Drugs’.
I was saddened by Ms Devine’s attack upon Dr Alex Wodak for his advocacy of drug law reform. Dr Wodak is well able to defend and speak for himself but, in my view, attacking the man rather than the ball is not only poor form but generally is a sign of fundamental weaknesses in the argument of the alleger.
Having regard to the fundamental importance, particularly in the current media environment, of transparency and integrity in reporting, I found these omissions surprising and regretful.
I respectfully request that you publish this letter to correct the record and more accurately reflect the intent and meaning of my initial response.