November 2nd 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Murray-Darling Basin Plan based on debunked science

CANBERRA OBSERVED What does it take to knock down GetUp?

TECHNOLOGY Beijing's push to dominate world supply of electronics components

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Hong Kong protestors speak candidly to NCC, as Xi threat calls Tiananmen to mind

LIFE ISSUES Of foetuses and fallacies

LIFE ISSUES To hold the hand ... an answer to euthanasia

LIFE ISSUES Melbourne and Brisbane on the march

QUEENSLAND AFA/NCC forum addresses euthanasia legislation

THE ENVIRONMENT Fresh visit to the Great Barrier Reef in its death throes

COLD WAR HISTORY Was the Vietnam War worth fighting?

HUMOUR England United, and all that ... but with Hume?

MUSIC Usage and abusage: Words what got rhythm

CINEMA AND CULTURE The mirror of villainy

BOOK REVIEW Eclectic example of genre of decline

BOOK REVIEW Brief battle a model for combined arms


RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ABC survey finds majority agree there is unfair discrimination against religious Australians

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forum addresses euthanasia legislation

News Weekly, November 2, 2019

The National Civic Council (NCC) and the Australian Family Association (AFA) convened an important forum in Queensland on October 19, which addressed a number of key challenges in the state, including an anticipated bill to legalise euthanasia or assisted suicide.

From left: Christian Rowan MP,

MC Veronica Hayes and NCC
national president Patrick Byrne.

The forum attracted over 100 participants, most of whom were aged under 30, and included people active in the caring professions, medicine and attending universities in Queensland.

The Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, ordered an inquiry a year ago into aged care, end-of-life and palliative care and voluntary assisted dying, a euphemism for assisted killing.

The inquiry is being conducted by the Parliamentary Health Committee and is dominated by the ALP. It was to have reported by mid-April 2019 but, due to the large number of submissions, it has been delayed until the end of March 2020.

Although the premier’s statement did not include the word “euthanasia”, it is clear that the central point of the inquiry is to recommend the legalisation of euthanasia in Queensland.


A former President of the Australian Medical Association in Queensland, Dr Christian Rowan, now a state MP, gave an overview of the course of the parliamentary inquiry. He said that the committee had received some 5,500 submissions, reflecting the extraordinary level of public interest in the issue.

The push for euthanasia has been criticised by both former Labor prime minister Paul Keating and WA Labor Senator Patrick Dodson, who has expressed the concerns of the indigenous population about the impact of euthanasia on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In view of the proximity to the next Queensland state election, due on Octo­ber 31, 2020, it is uncertain whether the Palaszczuk Government will proceed immediately with legislation.

Dr Rowan said he anticipated eutha­nasia would be an issue in the next state election, along with the increased level of the state’s indebtedness, due to uncontrolled government spending, and the state’s unemployment rate, now over 6 per cent – the highest in Australia.

A number of experts spoke on the importance of palliative care as an alternative to euthanasia.

They included Angela Duff, Queensland vice-president of the Australian Family Association, Kerri-Anne Dooley, a palliative-care specialist, Peter Melville, a Brisbane psychologist, Cara Whittred, a registered nurse, and Dr Alex Deagan, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Queensland.

One theme that came through repeatedly was how rare it was for people, including those gravely ill or facing death, to ask for assistance to end their lives. The desire to live is present even when death is imminent, and is not based on a person’s religious views.

There was considerable discussion about the need to provide love and support for people with terminal illnesses. Palliative care does all these things.

There was also discussion about how the current aged-care royal commission has heard of many cases of elder abuse, and the fact that this would undoubtedly become more common if euthanasia was legalised.

Arising from the discussion, it was agreed that there should be a community-wide campaign against the legalisation of euthanasia or physician-assisted killing.

Other issues dealt with at the forum included the development of the Young Political Advocacy Training program, which equips young people with the tools needed to be effective in public life, in the media and in political organisations, including political parties.

Liz Walker, who runs the charity eChildhood, gave an important presentation on the problem of children’s exposure to internet pornography.

She said that children currently have 24/seven access to hardcore porn. “Without intervention, education and support, our kids are developing distorted sexual expectations,” she said.

Statistics show that 69 per cent of boys and 23 per cent of girls have viewed porn by age 13. Eighty-six per cent of young men and 19 per cent of young women aged 15–29 watch pornography on a weekly or daily basis.

She said that eChildhood is building a national coalition of individuals and organisations that are committed to providing a porn-free childhood in Australia.

Patrick Byrne, national president of the NCC, spoke on how the legal protections given to a person’s gender identity in anti-discrimination laws are already impacting our universities and workplaces, facilitated the introduction of the “Safe Schools” program, and threaten religious freedom.

The forum concluded with an address by special quest speaker Dr Robert Kaplan, a forensic psychiatrist, whose topic was health-care serial killing in hospitals, nursing homes and elderly residential care around the world.

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TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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