Bishop criticises Broome Shire condom plan

Broome Shire Council lacks the moral authority to introduce free condoms around the local township, according to the Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders.

The Record report that Bishop Saunders was reacting to a Sydney Morning Herald report that Broome councillors are considering a plan to create five "condom trees" as a health project to combat sexually transmitted disease, Bishop Saunders spoke caustically.

"I don't think it's the business of councils to get involved in this sort of thing," he told the paper. "They don't have the expertise to get involved in moral health matters.

"They should be looking after the footpaths and drains."

Bishop Saunders dismissed the thinking behind the "condom tree" proposal as "a pathetic attempt at being relevant."

According to the Sydney Morning Herald report, the "condom trees" proposal is to instal a series of plastic pipes filled with condoms and placed in public places where young people gather.

The condoms would then be available to be taken by young people, as a free gift from the Council.

The Broome Shire President was reported by the Sydney newspaper arguing that 48% of Western Australia's sexually transmitted infection occurs in the Kimberley, which has two% of the state's population.

The proposal for "condom trees" has been brought before Broome Council by the Kimberley Public Health Unit and Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service.

Bishop Saunders dismissed the proposal as "political gimmickry," and said if the Council is serious about tackling the problem of sexually transmitted disease, it should consider broader issues.

"They'd be better off being concerned about the permanency of relationships, rather than becoming instruments of permissiveness,"

Bishop criticises Broome Shire condom plan (The Record 9/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Diocese of Broome
'Condom trees' plan for WA town (Sydney Morning Herald 7/2/06)

10 Feb 2006