Gweneth Nitschke believes she will live to see her son operating Australia's first euthanasia clinic in Adelaide. Not that the 90-year-old mother of voluntary euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke has a terminal illness. She reluctantly moved into a northern Adelaide independent living centre last week after a fall at home, and although she has no major health problems, she is urging South Australian MPs to pass a bill allowing doctor-assisted euthanasia. "I wholeheartedly agree with the need for a specialist clinic if the laws change," Ms Nitschke said yesterday. "I have seen friends suffer. If I found myself in a terminal situation like that, I would like to be able to choose what I wanted to do. I expect to live to see a clinic open that helps people with the right to choose to die. I hope to see that day, and I hope it comes quickly."
Private schools fear the Australian Greens will attempt to use their power in the Senate to press Labor to strip non-government schools of funding, in line with the minor party's election policies. While Julia Gillard has recommitted to her promise that no school will lose a dollar of funding under her government, the schools fear the promise could end up "on the cutting-room floor" in a future deal with the Greens. The Greens will assume full control of the balance of power in the Senate from July 1 and, according to their website, maintain a policy of "reversing the excessive increases in commonwealth funding to non-government schools in recent years".
Andrew Bolt's writings on Aboriginal identity were akin to an "eugenics approach" that ultimately led to the establishment of the anti-Semitic Nuremburg Laws of 1935, the Federal Court has heard. "The Holocaust started with words and ended with violence," Ron Merkel QC told judge Mordecai Bromberg as he outlined in Melbourne the columnist's alleged breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. Four articles by the Herald Sun columnist were "a head-on assault on a group of highly successful and high-achieving" Aborigines, said Mr Merkel, representing nine applicants in a class-action against Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times. At issue is Bolt's assertion that the nine applicants had chosen to identify themselves as "Aboriginal" and consequently win grants, prizes and career advancement, despite their apparently fair skin and mixed heritage.
The Premier, Barry O'Farrell, has announced the discovery of a $4.5 billion hole in the budget hours after taking office, and accused Labor of ''cooking the books like never before'' to hide the true financial position of the state. In one of the first signs of a shake-up to the senior ranks of the public service following the election, the secretary of the Treasury, Michael Schur, has been sent on ''immediate leave'' while an audit of the state's finances is carried out by Michael Lambert, a former Treasury secretary.
I am a little ambivalent about government regulation of supposedly harmful behaviour. Having a glass of wine, a chocolate biscuit or even a cigarette can be damaging to my health, but it’s a choice I want to make, not one I want thrust upon me by a po-faced government committee determined to denude my life of all risk. On the other hand, the gambling industry’s calculated manipulation of human weakness for financial gain is distasteful, to say the least. And, at this point in time, it’s almost completely unregulated, with all the protection being given to those least in need of it.
On last week’s Media Watch, host Jonathan Holmes called for the government to use a practically defunct regulation to restrict free speech because he disagreed with the content of that speech. Two days later, GetUp – the useful idiots of Australian politics – responded to this call to action, launching proceedings with the government regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
The US researchers had used a mathematical model to declare that organised religion is dying out in Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Switzerland - and Australia. Their basic argument, unveiled at an American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, is that people who claim no religious affiliation are the fastest growing religious minority in many countries throughout the world. (Note that they define people with no religious affiliation as still being a religious group).
One of my favourite episodes of Will & Grace involves Jack stumbling across the “Welcome Back Home” conversion program. It’s hilarious for two reasons: One, because Jack cunningly chooses to think of the group as “Welcome Back Homo” and two, as the episode amusingly shows, washing that gay right out of your hair isn’t all that simple. Or successful.
To adapt the slogan of the NRA: Labor voters don’t elect Greens; Liberals elect Greens. The Green ambitions in the NSW election were massively frustrated last night because the Liberals did not direct their second-choice votes to them. Without that vital second tier support from their unlikely ballot buddies the Liberals, the Greens did worse than they hoped in the vulnerable inner-city Labor seats of Marrickville and Balmain. The hopes of holding the balance of power in the state Upper House also were dashed by the same preference deprivation.
The right of the two territories (ACT and NT) to have legislation overturned by the Commonwealth Parliament but not by the Government alone has become embroiled, to their disadvantage, with gay marriage and euthanasia law reform. The Greens have moved the relevant Commonwealth bill and are the most active supporters of both reforms. This combination is explosive and emotional, causing the bill to be sent to a Senate committee. A small party (The Greens) is leading the debate, and the smallest components of the federation (the territories) are perceived to be central to the process, and may be among the likely locations for follow-up legislation.
Between 130,000 and 160,000 people demonstrated in central Madrid, Spain, on Saturday against laws that make abortion easier, according to organizers. Demonstrators hold a banner reading 'women against abortion' during a march against a bill to ease restrictions on abortion, in Madrid, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009. The protest was called to denounce a bill that would allow unrestricted abortion at up to 14 weeks of pregnancy and let girls aged 16 and 17 have abortions without parental consent, a vivid and emotional show of how the issue remains sensitive two decades after abortion was legalized in this traditionally Roman Catholic country. Protesters marched under the slogan, "Yes to Life," and urged the "abolition of all permissive abortion laws and the withdrawal of all the provisions making it easier for euthanasia and the manipulation of human embryos," according to the manifesto read during the protest.
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