April 26th 2014

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Articles from this issue:

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Beware the fine print in Asian trade agreements

ECONOMIC AGENDA: Does Australia export 274 per cent of its wine production?

EDITORIAL: High-profile scientists rebut climate change threat

SOCIETY: Gender agenda will confuse our children

POLITICS AND SOCIETY: Conservatives are wrong to disparage distributism

ELECTORAL AFFAIRS: Ex-AFP commissioner slams AEC's Senate vote bungle

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Joe Bullock is right: the ALP left is mad

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Infrastructure and superannuation: a match made in heaven?

SOCIETY: How political correctness harms children and society

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: The significance for Australia of the rise of Indonesia

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Landmark elections for European Parliament

OBITUARY: Farewell, Brian Harradine


CINEMA: How 'subversive' is Darren Aronofsky's Noah?

BOOK REVIEW Building a free and prosperous nation

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News Weekly, April 26, 2014

Student activists end occupation of Taiwan’s legislature


In reference to Jeffry Babb’s article, “China trade pact roils Taiwanese students” (News Weekly, April 12, 2014), I would like to update the latest developments and clarify some points to help readers understand the issue.

The present confrontation stems from a procedural dispute of reviewing Cross-Strait Trade in Services Agreement (aka the services pact) between the ruling and opposition party caucuses in the Legislative Yuan (parliament in Taiwan).

Student activists occupied the Legislative Yuan to protest against the pact, alleging that it lacked transparency. In fact, the Legislative Yuan has held 20 public hearings on the pact, while government agencies have organised more than 110 forums with relevant industries.

After vigorous negotiations, student protesters peacefully vacated the chamber on April 10. The Legislative Yuan resumed meeting on April 11, with top priority given to passing an oversight mechanism before putting the services pact under legislative review.

Regarding working holidays, Taiwan and Australia since 2004 have operated a reciprocal working-holiday scheme for the purpose of broadening the horizons of young people. Australia now ranks as the top destination for Taiwanese on working holidays.

Whenever I have asked young Taiwanese what attracts them most in Australia, the reasons they most often give are “culture and environment”. Saying that they are lured by the prospect of higher wages does not tell the whole story.

The controversy of the services pact illustrates that Taiwan is a dynamic civil society where Taiwanese really care about public issues. The controversy also shows that the government of the Republic of China (ROC) is open to dialogue and allows robust political exchange.

Taiwan (ROC) remains committed to pursuing a peaceful and democratic approach to bringing the dispute to an end.

Judy Ying-ming Wong,
Director General,
Taipei Economic and
Cultural Office,


Grey areas in anti-euthanasia debate


I read with interest Paul Russell’s article, “A poor prognosis is not an argument for euthanasia” (News Weekly, April 12, 2014).

He focuses on sufferers from motor neurone disease (MND), and argues against giving such patients the right to decide to have their lives terminated.

However, he fails to reveal the full complexity of the issue, for, if my aunt’s case was typical, most MND patients are, in effect, euthanased at the point when the insidiously creeping disease is reaching their lungs and threatening them with suffocation.

At that point their dosage of morphine or other drugs is generally increased to the point where they do not actually die from the disease — and rightly so.

That was why my aunt died relatively peacefully, rather than suffocating. She wasn’t allowed even to approach suffocation, thank goodness.

Perhaps Paul Russell would agree — though, disappointingly, he chooses not to mention this inconvenient grey area.

Perhaps it is “unedifying” (old Catholic saying). But if anyone thinks there are no grey areas in this anti-euthanasia debate, think again.

Philip Ayres,
Glen Iris, Vic. 

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