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Greens' euthanasia bill no guarantee the wrong people will not be killed
· October 03, 2014 10:00 AM
The Australian Christian Lobby has questioned the ability of the Greens' proposed euthanasia bill to prevent people who are not terminally ill or in intractable pain from being killed.
Giving evidence at this afternoon's Senate inquiry in Canberra, ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton gave six examples from Belgium and The Netherlands where people had used euthanasia legislation without complying with its safeguards.
"Despite the best intentions, it is clear that euthanasia in Belgium and The Netherlands has moved beyond something strictly available to the terminally ill or those in intractable pain," Mr Shelton said.
"Despite the Greens' extra safeguards of requiring medical practitioners including a psychiatrist to give the green light to voluntary euthanasia, we have seen this flouted in the past."
Mr Shelton told this afternoon's hearing that similar safeguards were circumvented when people were euthanised under the Northern Territory's short-lived euthanasia laws in the mid 1990s.
"Apart from pressuring vulnerable people and changing the doctor-patient relationship, practice shows euthanasia cannot be contained to the very small cohort of people the Greens envisage."
Mr Shelton told the inquiry there had been 10 failed attempts to legislate euthanasia since 2008. Many of these had been instigated by the Greens which nominate euthanasia and same-sex marriage as top political priorities.
"Persistence is a virtue in politics. But I think questions now need to be asked about the Greens' parliamentary tactics and their strategy of trying to bring about legislation by fatigue," Mr Shelton said.
Marc and Eddy Verbessem were deaf Belgian twins. After discovering they would both go blind, they sought euthanasia. It took them two years to find a doctor willing to perform euthanasia, who euthanised them at the age of 45.
Francis (89) and Anne (86) are a Belgian couple who are planning to be euthanised because they fear being alone when one of them days. The couple have planned it with their children, who said they would not be able to care for them if one of them died. They are also concerned that a good retirement home would be too expensive. They are not terminally ill.
A Belgian woman who requested euthanasia because she was depressed had her request approved in 2012. Her son, Tom Mortier, was not advised of the decision until the day after his mother’s death.
A Belgian woman who became depressed after a botched sex change left her “a monster” was euthanised in 2013.
She was euthanised on the grounds of “unbearable psychological suffering”, despite not being terminally ill.
Frank van den Bleeken, a Belgian murderer and rapist serving a life sentence, has been allowed to have euthanasia after arguing that he could not overcome his violent sexual impulses and so had no prospect of release. He had been refused a transfer to a Dutch psychiatric centre. Van den Bleeken is 50 and has spent 30 years in prison.
In the Netherlands, a doctor euthanised a woman in her 80s who had suffered a stroke because she didn’t want to live in a nursing home. The woman had indicated in writing her desire not to live in a nursing home 20 years before her stroke, and repeated this verbally 18 months prior. She was unable to communicate properly after her stroke.
Would the real Senator Hanson-Young please stand up?
· August 28, 2014 10:00 AM
Last Thursday I was giving evidence at a Senate committee examining a Greens Bill to recognise overseas same-sex marriages.
I was presenting with a group of representatives of the Roman Catholic, Baptist and Presbyterian churches.
We explained why changing the definition of marriage was a bad idea for the rights of children to know and be loved by their biological parents and why it was a threat to free speech and religion.
The bill’s author, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young chose not to engage us on the substance of our arguments.
However, in a welcome gesture, she struck a conciliatory note with us at the public hearings (see
“The most important thing in this debate, and I have seen many of you across this table on various occasions, is I think the level of debate is becoming more respectful. That is what I wanted to raise with you because I have been doing this for a long time and I think we are becoming more concise on both sides about what it is that we care about and what it is that the law should and should not cover. I wanted to thank you for participating in a good-natured way.”
We were glad to hear this because those of us campaigning to retain the definition of marriage have often been called bigots and homophobes and even told there is no place in Australia for people who hold our views.
I thought that perhaps we were entering a new phase where we could be free to speak without these pejorative slurs being levelled at us.
My hope was short-lived.
Less than a week later, Ms Hanson-Young gave an interview to
regarding yesterday’s National Marriage day at Parliament House, organised by the Australian Family Association.
“[it was] disappointing that government members are bringing these extreme views to parliament. …. The passage of time will not be kind to these homophobic and outdated views. If Abbott government ministers are comfortable associating themselves with these views, they’ll have to explain that to the public.”
I was disappointed to see these comments, following her words and soft tone at the Senate hearings last week.
I’m tired of being called “extreme” and “homophobic” for arguing that a child has the right to her mother and father, something that would be abolished in culture and law if same-sex marriage was legislated.
By all means, engage our arguments. But please don’t try and bludgeon us into silence.
As Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews told the National Marriage Day dinner at the National Press Club last night, the same-sex marriage debate is quickly morphing into a debate about what can and cannot be said about marriage.
Last day to make a submission to Euthanasia inquiry
· August 21, 2014 10:00 AM
Today is the last day to make a submission into a senate inquiry investigating a Greens’ euthanasia bill.
At the end of June Greens’ Senator Richard Di Natale tabled the draft bill in parliament which would make it legal for doctors to prescribe and administer an end of life substance to a terminally ill person.
The person’s condition would have to be verified by two medical practitioners and the person would have undergone an assessment by a psychiatrist to ensure they are of sound mind.
Despite the safeguards in place, experience in jurisdictions demonstrates that euthanasia laws are never safe from abuse.
Please consider making a submission to this inquiry by following the instructions on the
inquiry home page
. You can write a submission and send it to
, or by post to the Committee. Alternatively, you can complete a short pro forma submission
The Exposure Draft of the bill is available
Some points to consider making in your submission:
Legalising euthanasia puts at risk the lives of society’s most vulnerable people – the elderly, the lonely, the sick, and the depressed. Euthanasia transmits the message that some lives are no longer worth living or worth caring for.
Euthanasia undermines the fundamental relationship of trust between doctor and patient. Patients trust doctors to act in their best interest.
Euthanasia puts pressure on patients who are concerned about being a burden to their families or friends.
Despite safeguards, in countries where euthanasia has been legalised, a large number of euthanasia deaths occur without the explicit request or consent of the patient.
After euthanasia is introduced, the strict boundaries are often relaxed to include, for example, mental illness but no terminal physical illness. Euthanasia for children as young as 12 is permitted in the Netherlands, and for children of any age in Belgium.
In most cases, physical pain can be treated with palliative care.
For more information, see the ACL fact sheet
. You can also read
ACL's 2013 submission
to the Tasmanian parliament on a euthanasia bill.
Anti euthanasia advocate talks about Greens' latest euthanasia bill
· August 19, 2014 10:00 AM
Paul Russell is the Director of Hope: Preventing Euthanasia and assisted suicide. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he comments on the draft Greens euthanasia bill. There is currently an inquiry into the bill with submissions closing the 21st of August. See
Last day to make a submission to euthanasia inquiry
for details on how to make a submission
ACL Candidate Forums prove popular
· March 11, 2014 11:00 AM
Over the past two weeks ACL has run its trademark Meet Your Candidate Forums in each of the five Tasmanian electorates ahead of this Saturday’s state election.
There was a good turnout of both candidates and constituents averaging 10 candidates per forum and over 70 in the audience listening and asking questions of those seeking to be elected.
Sadly there was a noticeable absence of attendance from current sitting ALP members with only one Labor MP fronting the forums. In contrast both the Liberals and Greens had a strong showing at the events.
Questions put to the candidates were wide-ranging but generally reflected the general concerns in the community – the economy, jobs and education.
Out of all the major social issues that have characterised the last four years, abortion was the one that came up most often regarding recent changes to Tasmania’s abortion laws. Questions specifically targeted candidates’ views on doctors’ freedom of conscience and freedom of speech (right to protest near abortion clinics).
Feedback from both candidates and constituents was positive with all forums highlighting clear distinctions in the candidates but at the same time maintaining respect for the varying views from across the spectrum of those seeking people’s votes.
MR: Senate rejects Greens’ push to dump Lord's Prayer from federal parliament
· February 13, 2014 11:00 AM
Thursday, 13th February 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the Senate’s decision to reject the Greens’ push to dump the Lord’s Prayer from parliament.
ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the motion by Senator Richard Di Natale was rejected in the Senate today.
Mr Shelton said the opening of the each parliamentary day with the Lord’s Prayer recognised Australia’s cultural heritage.
“The Christian ethos underpinning western civilisation has fostered free and prosperous societies, including our liberal democracy,” he said.
“It’s disappointing that Senator Di Natale wanted to take away something of Australia’s cultural heritage,” he said.
Mr Shelton rejected comments by Senator Di Natale that faith should be a private matter.
“Everyday people bring ideas to the workplace, charities, hospitals and even parliament, formed by their values and beliefs,” he said.
“The ideas emanating from the Christian faith – including those of what it means to promote human flourishing - are an important contribution in debating how best to order society,” he said.
“Our democracy would be poorer if ideas emanating from any particular faith were suddenly excluded from the contest of ideas.”
ACL's Lyle Shelton says Lord's Prayer should remain a part of Parliament
· January 21, 2014 11:00 AM
In this radio interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman, ACL's Managing Director Lyle Shelton discusses why the Lord's Prayer should remain a part of the opening of each sitting day in Parliament. The Greens' senator Richard Di Natale is calling for it to be scrapped.
MR: ACL looks to post-Greens future for Tasmania
· January 16, 2014 11:00 AM
Thursday, January 16th 2014
Labor’s broken election promise on governing with the Greens has been disastrous for Tasmania and voters now had the opportunity to create a post-Greens future for the state, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown has welcomed the announcement today that Labor would split from its power-sharing alliance with the Greens.
Mr Brown said it was an absolute breach of trust for Labor to enter into an alliance with the Greens after the 2010 election and people would rightly be wary of today’s announcement, given how easily the same promise was breached in 2010.
“The decision by former Labor Premier David Bartlett to enter into an alliance despite clearly declaring before the election that he would “never do a deal with the devil” damaged Labor’s credibility and its ability to deliver good government,” he said.
“The state government of the last four years has focused a disproportionate amount of time on repeated attempts at radical social policy reform, due in part to the Greens influence, while the economy continues to suffer.
“This has not gone unnoticed by the electorate which walked away from the Greens at the last federal election. The Greens’ primary vote in Tasmania fell by around nine per cent in both the House of Representatives and senate from the 2010 election results.
“Voters last year indicated the desire for a post-Green era where governments could get on with the business of driving key areas like the economy and jobs unhindered by the Greens anti-industry handbrake and its obsession with redefining marriage.
“The end of the alliance in Tasmania provides Labor with an opportunity to start rebuilding its tarnished credibility. There are a substantial number of swinging voters in the Tasmanian Christian community who are looking for genuine options when it comes to who they vote for in March,” he said.
MR: Tas euthanasia bill – a sign of misaligned priorities
· October 01, 2013 10:00 AM
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) believes the latest attempt at legalising euthanasia in Tasmania is another indication of misaligned priorities.
“At a time when one would expect Labor to be distancing themselves from the Greens it appears Premier Lara Giddings has learned nothing from the last term of federal parliament where alignment with the Greens has damaged the Labor brand with mainstream voters,” said ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown.
Mr Brown said there seemed to be a correlation between the objectives of the Tasmanian Labor Government and the Greens’ national agenda.
“After the 2010 federal election, then Greens’ leader Bob Brown said his top two legislative priorities were to legalise same-sex marriage and euthanasia.
“It appears the Tasmanian Premier is following the Greens’ agenda when commentators suggest she clearly does not have the numbers to pass her joint euthanasia bill and in the case of same-sex marriage - reigniting a debate that was done and dusted last year and reconfirmed as a low-order issue with voters at the federal election,” he said.
“Those federal Labor MPs’ who recently lost their seats - some suggesting due in part to the animosity of Tasmanians to the Labor-Green State Government experiment - must be shaking their heads,” he said.
“Christian and other mainstream voters are looking for Labor to return to the sensible centre on social policy,” Mr Brown said.
MR: Labor-Green preference deal would damage Labor's senate candidates
· August 14, 2013 10:00 AM
Wednesday 14th August 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby is urging the Labor Party to be on a unity ticket with the Coalition in not giving preferences to the Greens.
ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton welcomed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s announcement to preference Greens candidates last in the lower house and urged Labor to do likewise – particularly in the senate.
“Labor has a choice to woo back the Christian constituency which helped elect Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2007 or choose the Greens which have significantly damaged Labor’s primary vote and brand,” he said.
“Labor's association with the Greens' social agenda during minority government had damaged its standing with many mainstream voters.
“Labor has many Senate candidates who are attractive to Christian voters but a preference deal with the Greens would be a turn-off.
"If Labor preferences help the Greens, particularly in the Senate, it will be difficult for many Christians to support the many ALP Senate candidates who are attractive to Christian voters.
"Greens' influence in Parliament and pursuit of fringe agendas has distracted politics from important issues facing the nation," he said.
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