March 29th 2014

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Articles from this issue:

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Clive Palmer, the would-be powerbroker

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN STATE ELECTION: Independent MP puts Labor back in power

TASMANIAN STATE ELECTION: Massive swing to Liberals, major shock for Labor

EDITORIAL: SA, Tasmanian elections confirm Labor's decline

ECONOMIC AGENDA: Fixing the distorted high Australian dollar

HUMAN RIGHTS: Restoring human rights protection to children

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: New perspectives on the 1955 Labor split

NEW ZEALAND: Export boom sees NZ's economy forge ahead

UKRAINE CRISIS: Ukrainian church leaders urge Putin to back down

UNITED STATES: Justice Dept drags its feet over sex-trafficking website

OPINION: Repeal, don't amend, laws that threaten free speech


TELEVISION: Rival depictions of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes

BOOK REVIEW The generals who started the war on the family

BOOK REVIEW Australia's first major victory in the Great War

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News Weekly, March 29, 2014

Deceiving the public


Trevor Dawes’ accusation (Letters, News Weekly, February 15) that MPs and commentators in the media “refuse to acknowledge the truth”, and deceive the public, is sadly all too true.

On mentioning to friends (non-readers of News Weekly) Victoria’s legalisation in 2008 to allow full-term abortion, I have been met uniformly with disbelief (and revulsion).

One friend, unwilling to credit the possibility, searched the web to prove me wrong. What she found was that media reports of the parliamentary debate left it impossible to register what it was really about, and it was only on consulting the parliamentary Hansard record that the real nature of the legislation became clear.

This could only be a deliberate disguising of a policy that the media supports but fears that, were the full facts known, there would be effective popular opposition. This is tantamount to subversion by the media of democratic principle.

The Irish media was equally at fault in the lead-up to the passing of an abortion bill in July last year (deceptively called The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill), which legalised abortion up to 28 weeks, together with denying the baby sustaining care after the birth (although not actively killing the baby as in the Victorian legislation).

All the media discussion was of two problem issues only remotely related to the circumstances in which abortion will most commonly be sought. There was no education of the public as to the viability of a 28-week foetus, nor any discussion of what would actually be done to or with the living infant which would be unlikely to die immediately after delivery — 28-week babies will usually do well with modern neonatal care.

Was it to be left to slowly asphyxiate with its immature lungs, or to die of hypothermia, or to starve to death if it survived these hazards, even if this took days? Or would a time limit be set on its “exposure”?

If it then survived, it would be likely to have suffered unnecessary brain damage, and who would be its carers? Its rejecting mother and father?

These questions were never asked or answered in the media nor, as far as the public were told, by the members of parliament voting on the bill (which was passed, although with some opposition).

Did members of the public attempt to ask them? If so, their questions were censored.

Dr Lucy Sullivan,
Windsor, NSW


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