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NT: To condom or not to condom –
pollies split on safe sex approach
Even with the annual Bass in the Grass music festival over for 2011, politicians in the NT continue to debate whether young people should be given messages on safe sex and free condoms at the event. Read what CLA says, what the NT News columnist Nick Calacouras thinks...and some differing and surprising opinions from politicians of the major parties.
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CLA Media Release - 18 May 2011
Where is the love? NT Government rejects safe sex message
Civil Liberties Australia calls on the Northern Territory to support the efforts of youth groups and others to promote youth health issues at the Bass in the Grass festival.
"The Territory has Australia's highest rates of sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs) and young people make up a significant number of new cases," said Tim Vines, CLA director.
"Handing out condoms and providing information on sexual health doesn't push young people into having sex – it encourages them to have safe sex." Mr Vines said.
“Governments, including the NT Government, need to learn to be more up front and open about activities: banning or hiding something doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur. You’re better off being frank and educating people, rather than putting banning more education and openness about a subject, including sex,” Mr Vines said.
YEAH's efforts to hand out condoms and information on sexual health have been hampered by bureaucratic blockades which forbid groups from setting up stalls at festivals.
"YEAH want to help their peers but the rules treat them as though they wanted to set up a food or drink stand. CLA calls on the Chief Minister to relax these rules so vital information can be made available to festival goers."
In its 2007 report into Youth Health the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that over 30% of Australia's sexually active young people either use no contraception or high-risk methods such as the rhythm or withdrawal method.
"The NT Government needs to realize that the best way to protect our youth is by giving them the facts and aids to act safely."
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For comment contact:
Director, Media Spokesperson
Civil Liberties Australia