Legalised euthanasia can leave people too frightened to go to hospital, a medical ethicist said yesterday as an unlikely alliance formed in the latest bid to make euthanasia legal in South Australia. Dr Margaret Somerville, founding director of Canada's McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, told a palliative care conference in Adelaide that in the Netherlands, where euthanasia is allowed, some people refuse to go to hospital. "(They) are going across the border to Germany because they're too frightened to go to hospital. They also are refusing pain relief treatment because they think that they are going to be killed," she said, adding that loneliness and fear lead to people wanting euthanasia. "Pain and suffering is not usually the reason any individual wants euthanasia. It's social isolation and a fear of being a burden on others," she said.
It is often thought the main threat of radical Islamism to the West and, indeed, the world, is terrorism. It is also said to be the isolation of Muslim communities, which allows extremists to recruit people to their cause. Such views are not mistaken but they confuse effects with causes. What the world has to recognise is that we are not simply dealing with faith, but with a political, social and economic ideology. Radical Islamism is a worldview. Its nearest parallel, despite many differences, is Marxism. Radical Islamists claim their all-encompassing program for society is rooted in fundamental Islamic sources. They reject the interpretations of Koran and sharia law offered by reformist or moderate Muslims. We must, of course, respect the faith of ordinary Muslims, but the ideology has to be met in a different way.
Tony Abbott says he will urge the rural independents to back a mid-term change to a Coalition government. He intends to use Malcolm Turnbull to expose waste in Labor's broadband program. Mr Abbott yesterday said his new communications spokesman would have a crucial part to play by convincing the independents the government's National Broadband Network was wasteful. "We've got to demonstrate to the public that we would be a better and safer pair of hands than the Labor Party, that we can be better trusted with public money than the Labor Party and that's where I think Malcolm has a very, very important role in the new term of parliament," Mr Abbott said.
Local business owners did not share the enthusiam with which the Premier, Kristina Keneally, moved to make the supervised injecting centre at Kings Cross a permanent fixture yesterday. After 10 years they are ''just used to it'' even though most don't like it, said one business owner who has been in the area for several decades but wished to remain anonymous. ''Has it helped people? I don't think we see as many junkies, there's less people falling on their face in the shop but it's not an appropriate position for an injecting room, right there on the main drag,'' said Max Hersh, a pharmacist who has worked in Kings Cross for 40 years. John McEwen, who has owned an antiques shop on Roslyn Street for six years, said it was preventing new businesses from setting up in the area.
The pivotal role of Speaker in the House of Representatives has been thrown into confusion after rural independent Rob Oakeshott put his hand up for the job. The move has forced the Gillard government to seek legal advice about whether the new arrangement can work. The Speaker's job is coveted as it delivers a handsome salary equivalent to that of cabinet ministers - about $238,000 annually before electorate allowance and about $100,000 more than Mr Oakeshott gets as a backbencher. The Speaker also gets at least three extra staff on top of electorate employees, lavish offices and an entertainment allowance.
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott has denied shirking the wrath of his electorate after a Port Macquarie community forum was postponed. Mr Oakeshott was to appear at the event, "An Audience with Rob Oakeshott", tonight in his home town on the NSW mid-north coast but it was postponed because of a series of threats fielded by a local newspaper. The newspaper organising the event, the Port Macquarie News, postponed the forum yesterday, citing safety concerns. The newspaper's general manager, Janine Buesnel, said it had become apparent that "there are some people who plan to use the night as a chance to vent their rage at Mr Oakeshott".
Cardinal Newman was one of the greatest Englishmen, not just of his own times, but of any times. Like other courageous men and women of faith, he believed passionately that we should follow our consciences. Too many have died for that same cause. In Britain, their numbers have included both Protestant and Catholic martyrs, like Thomas More, whose trial took place in Westminster Hall, where the Pope will address representatives of civil society from across the country. At the end of his historic visit to Britain this week, Pope Benedict will beatify the cardinal during Mass in a Birmingham park where the cardinal used to take his recreation during his years as a simple parish priest in that great industrial city. It will be a moving climax to the first official visit to Britain by a Pope. The word historic can often be an overworked cliche. But on this occasion it is wholly accurate. That is why television channels around the world will be covering every moment of the four days he spends with us.
The proportion of Australian children attending Islamic schools and schools aligned with some Christian fundamentalist denominations has increased significantly over the past decade, despite declining national religiosity over the same period. A report out today by Jennifer Buckingham, a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, charts the rise of religious schools, which now educate close to a million children. The most rapid growth has occurred in Islamic schools and schools aligned with Christian fundamentalist denominations such as the Exclusive Brethren. In 1996, 9 per cent of Muslim students attended independent schools. By 2006, this had grown to 21 per cent. Separate data shows enrolments in Islamic schools increased from 6316 to 15,874 or 151 per cent between 1998 and 2006.
Steps should be taken to protect the records of sperm and egg donors in Victoria while an inquiry considers who should have access to the records, the government's law reform committee says. In an interim report tabled in Parliament yesterday, the committee said it needed more time to answer the legal, practical and other questions that would arise if all donor-conceived people were given access to identifying information about their donors and their donor-conceived siblings. In Victoria, the rights of the donor-conceived vary depending on when they were born, with those born before 1988 not entitled to identifying information about their donor. Those born between 1988 and 1997 have the right to access information if the donor agrees. Only those born after 1997 have an absolute right to information.
Brumby and Co lay claim to the title of nation's best political machine. Victoria is different. The 2010 federal election showed it to be more progressive than the other big states. Victorian Labor is different, too. It hopes the 2010 state election will show it to be more proficient than federal Labor. Victorian Labor now has a claim on the title of best political machine in the country - and John Brumby and his cabinet on the title of best government. November 27, state election day, will show whether that is enough.
Chief of the Defence Force Angus Houston issued an instruction Monday revoking the policy that effectively banned transgender service members. The ADF is believed to be the last government agency that specifically fired employees for transitioning gender. The individual whose recent gender transition lead to the reform work was not available for public comment, but the referral service that assists gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service members, DEFGLIS, was aware that commanders had been anything but understanding. While the ADF works on a new policy to address those problems, slated for December, Air Chief Marshall Houston called on commanders to show more understanding. Monday’s signal instructed commanders to “manage ADF transgender personnel with fairness, respect and dignity … and existing medical review provisions; and ensure all personnel are not subjects to unacceptable behavior”.
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