Today the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia (CMDFA) Ethics Committee opposed moves to legalise euthanasia in Australian Parliaments. Executive Officer of CMDFA, Dr Michael Burke, stated ‘We affirm the dignity of all human beings and are committed to the relief of suffering and the provision of compassionate care in partnership with our patients and their loved ones. We firmly oppose any intervention which intentionally hastens death as a means of relieving suffering.’ The Association’s website explains that while CMDFA members do not oppose the withdrawal of futile treatment which artificially prolongs life in those whose death is inevitable and imminent, as Christians they believe the role of the physician is to first do no harm. The CMDFA ethics committee members are therefore opposed to a change of the law which would put them in the contradictory position of facilitating the death of people under their care.
Today's MPs need to relearn the lessons of the rise of the One Nation party. Disillusionment with the main political parties produced the hung parliament in August. Australians will continue to spread their votes to the Greens and independents if, by the end of this term, confidence has not been restored in what the main parties stand for. The squabbling over such things as the Speaker's position serves only to undermine public confidence and has the potential to lead to a repeat of this year and 1998, when disillusionment with the main parties saw Pauline Hanson and One Nation shake up national and state politics. For the government and opposition it is time to perform or watch their vote perish.
The future of the Sleaze Ball is in doubt after 28 years as gay and lesbian Sydney's second big night out of the year. Falling attendance, competition from other October long weekend parties and concerns that police may again use sniffer dogs and body searches to erode all the fun of the ball have prompted organisers to hold a forum later this month to discuss the New Mardi Gras fund-raiser's future. Pete Urmson, a co-chairman of NMG, said: ''This year could be the last Sleaze Ball as we consult our community and investigate fresh and creative ideas.'' An indication that the Sleaze Ball was in difficulty came at NMG's annual general meeting in August, when the former co-chairman Nick Parker described the dance party as ''the fund-raiser that didn't''.
What a week this has been. A week in which we came to see just how badly we had been deceived, but still found we could laugh at our misfortune. For those of us interested in important things, the week proceeded in the shadow of the aftermath of the AFL Grand Final, which ended in a nail biting draw for only the third time in history, forcing a replay and sparking much angst among football fans, who hate nothing more than having to watch more football, and debate as to whether it would be better to play extra time in the event of a drawn grand final. This suggestion was rejected by AFL boss Andrew Demetriou, who has always been a staunch defender of the indigenous code's proud tradition of charging as many people as possible several hundred dollars for tickets. The thought of another grand final put even more stress on the weary players who must drag their battered bodies onto the field once more, especially gutsy Collingwood skipper Nick "Princess" Maxwell, who is in doubt for the replay due to a severely strained tear duct.
Yuendumu's Watson family are in mourning. Grieving parents, siblings, cousins, a grandchild in a nappy sit under a tree on the periphery of town. The family, their foreheads streaked with thick white paint, are "in sorry", as sorry business is called in this socially riven desert community about 300km from Alice Springs. As dogs jostle for space on the blanket, the family lights a camp fire, passes around Arnott's biscuits and cold frankfurters, and converses in rapid-fire Warlpiri, their first language. Jill Watson, a thin, statuesque woman, is mourning her youngest son, 21, who was killed in the violent Alice Springs town camps last month (he cannot be named for cultural reasons). She tells The Weekend Australian her family plans to "do sorry" for up to four months, eating and sleeping in their makeshift camp. (Later, they find time for a game of cards in the backyard of a nearby house.)
A 12-year-old girl sold by her mother for sex with more than 100 men has refused to attempt to identify them, or give evidence. The girl's wishes, along with prosecutors' assessment that there was no reasonable prospect of convictions, are behind a controversial decision not to lay further charges. Following widespread criticism of the decision, Tasmanian Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis SC yesterday took the unusual step of offering to release the reasons to newspapers on condition they published a full account.
There are gaps in scientific understanding making predicting the extent of climate change and sea level rises impossible. That's the claim of Britain's highest scientific authority, the Royal Society. The society's revised Guide to the Science of Climate Change has been interpreted as a retreat from politics by an organisation regarded as the world's most authoritative scientific body following the scandal that engulfed the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The society's new guide does not dismiss climate change or the need for co-ordinated global action to combat it.
Hotels, clubs and casino operators are pouring tens of thousands of dollars into the coffers of the NSW Nationals in anticipation of a Coalition victory next March, while donations to Labor have plummeted. The groups gave the Nationals $105,300 in the first six months of this year, compared with $41,050 for all last year, the latest returns from the Election Funding Authority reveal. The Nationals frontbench MP George Souris is likely to become the minister for gaming and racing in a Coalition government with responsibility for gambling and licensed premises.
A Wagga Wagga woman will tell a Melbourne congregation - and worldwide television audience - how she was raised from the dead on a Christian bus tour of Israel in June. Diana Shield, 73, had a heart attack as the bus headed for Jordan. Dr Murray James-Wallace, an expert in cardiac resuscitation, was sitting immediately behind her and worked on her unsuccessfully for some minutes before Pastor Danny Nalliah of Catch the Fire Ministries laid his hand on her and prayed. The pair - along with five others who say they were miraculously healed of cancer, deafness, and depression and can provide supporting medical evidence - will tell their story at a Catch the Fire service in Hallam tomorrow. It is being filmed by the Christian Broadcasting Network, a US-based company that broadcasts by satellite around the world.
Votes of conscience may seem like democracy in action, but issues can be hijacked, leading to unpredictable results. The 2006 conscience vote on the Therapeutic Goods Amendment bill was supposed to be as dry as it sounds. We were repeatedly told the vote was not about abortion. It was a procedural issue; should the abortion drug RU486 be assessed on its medical merits by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in the same way as every other drug? But it quickly turned into a deeply personal and fiercely contested moral debate that degenerated into soap opera. We learnt that former Democrats leader Lyn Allison had an abortion when she was 18, Peter Costello was told his unconscious pregnant wife could not carry the child and survive, and Tony Abbott knew more than most that ''resolutions made in church often wilted under the hot breath of passion''. Despite this, he attacked the ''bizarre double standard'' where ''someone who kills a pregnant woman's baby is guilty of murder, but a woman who aborts an unborn baby is simply exercising choice''. Greens senator Kerry Nettle donned a T-shirt screaming: ''Mr Abbott; get your rosaries off my ovaries'', while MP Danna Vale warned that Australia was in danger of becoming a Muslim nation because ''we are aborting ourselves almost out of existence''.
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February 28, 2017
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