A Perth-based disability advocate with quadriplegia has founded a new online blog to unite people with disabilities or chronic illness against euthanasia legislation that could put such people at risk. Wanneroo author Dr Erik Leipoldt, who last year published Euthanasia and Disability Perspective: An Investigation in The Netherlands and Australia, convened the blog called ProLiving - a Disability perspective on euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (PAS) late last month with a group of other like-minded people. The site warns that there are no safeguards against the abuse of legalised euthanasia and PAS. The site’s creators wrote to the SA Lower House on 4 April on the euthanasia Bill currently before Parliament as “a disability voice on end-of-life issues has been largely absent in Australia”, which has led to euthanasia advocates dominating public dialogue on the issue and presuming to speak for them.
The Rudd government fulfilled its 2007 election promise to develop a national curriculum by establishing a National Curriculum Board in early 2008 (now known as the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority). At the time, while welcoming the move to what was described as a more academically-minded approach to the curriculum, I argued that such was the power and influence of Australia’s cultural-Left education establishment, there was little chance of the government succeeding in its plans (see “The Dubious Quest for a National Curriculum”, Quadrant, September 2008). After reading the most recent kindergarten-to-Year 10 national curriculum documents in English and history (dated December 8, 2010 and due to be fully implemented at the start of 2013, two years behind schedule) I can see that my fears about the new curriculum were well founded.
The fragile state of the mental health system is again being questioned because of the suicide of a man who sought help at a hospital three times in 11 days. Former IT worker Trevor Cologne, 41, took his own life at his West Lakes home in Adelaide on Saturday, just two days after being refused admission to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for the third time. Mr Cologne, who suffered from depression, had gone to the hospital's emergency department twice previously with slashed wrists, on Monday March 21 and Wednesday March 23.
Andrew Bolt did not lose his right to free speech because a group of Aborigines said they were offended by his views on racial identity, a judge heard yesterday. Neil Young, QC, for the Herald Sun columnist, said there was a local and international legal precedent that the right to free speech "trumped" other rights when they came into conflict. Mr Young said Ron Merkel, QC, representing a fair-skinned Aborigine in a racial vilification action against Bolt, had said there was no right to free speech in Australia. "That's simply wrong," Mr Young said.
In a major advance toward regenerative medicine, researchers have for the first time coaxed stem cells from a mammal into becoming an embryonic eye, according to a study released today. The results, published in Nature, show that growing a complex human organ inside a petri dish - while still a long way off - is no longer the stuff of science fiction. They also point the way to new treatments for diseases that rob people of sight, and even the possibility of one day restoring vision with transplanted retinas generated from a patient's own stem cells, say outside experts.
Coalition education spokesman Christopher Pyne has promised to continue a controversial feature of school funding arrangements that provides more than 1000 private schools with more funding than they are entitled to. Under the model, introduced by the Howard government in 2001, the Commonwealth allocates funding to private schools according to a formula that measures the socio-economic status of a school community. But because the Coalition promised no school would be worse off under their system, 1083 schools have had their entitlements preserved fully indexed at pre-existing levels.
Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is in trouble again. This time a furore has erupted over a controversial campaign where people who donate $5 or more to the organisation are sent a nude picture of Cuban-born model Vida Guerra. It's the latest in a long line of PETA stunts that use nude women to sell vegetarianism. Last year a PETA ad was banned from being played during the American Super Bowl. The NBC listed a number of concerns with the sexual explicitness of the ads, but PETA's website boasts that the ad was simply "too hot for the Super Bowl", stating it featured "a bevy of beauties who are powerless to resist the temptation of veggie love". And then there's the range of "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" PETA ads, which feature various naked female celebrities.
Two Greens senators have publicly supported calls for Australian sanctions against Israel over the Middle East conflict, putting them at odds with party policy and their leader Bob Brown. West Australian senator Scott Ludlam last year demanded an arms embargo on Israel, which he described as "a rogue state", while South Australian colleague Sarah Hanson-Young addressed a rally where protesters called on Australia to sever ties with the Jewish state. The stance by the two senators conflicts with Senator Brown's assurance last week that his federal party was not anti-Israel and did not support the NSW branch of the party advocating sanctions against Israel.
Stockholm, Sweden – In 1999 Sweden became the first country in the world to criminalize the purchase, but not the sale, of sexual services. Over the years the interest from abroad about our legislation has grown, mainly because we can see a clear link between prostitution and human trafficking. Sweden has had a steady stream of visitors coming to study the Swedish example and the effects we have seen from it. We have welcomed parliamentarians and other politicians, experts and scholars and representatives from interest groups. Norway and Iceland, for example, now have their own criminalization of the purchase of sexual services. I am pleased that more countries are considering following the Swedish example. The primary factor that maintains prostitution and human trafficking is the demand for these services, ie. that people buy sex. Efforts to counteract demand are therefore of fundamental importance.
The depth and longstanding nature of the Greens' visceral hostility to Israel reveals something very unpleasant about the nature of the Greens themselves. They are essentially a party of extremists. Like most extremists operating in a democratic space, they try to garner support on broadly populist issues while still servicing their extremist activist base with extremist positions and campaigns. The language of a number of the Greens senators about Israel - rogue state, apartheid, should be boycotted - is the language of political sectarianism and prejudice.
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