The decriminalisation of prostitution supports pimps and oppressive men and harms women. Despite the House of Assembly rejecting the decriminalisation of prostitution only 7 months ago, Greens MLC Tammy Franks has reintroduced a nearly identical version of her previous prostitution decriminalisation bill that was convincingly defeated in the Lower House.Read more
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk failed a leadership test today when the media asked her about yesterday’s dreadful Health Committee report recommending assisted suicide, the Australian Christian Lobby says.Read more
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.
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.
“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 The Guardian 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Monday, February 4th, 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has rejected claims by proponents of voluntary euthanasia that the assisted dying model proposed in a discussion paper released yesterday in Tasmania would be safe.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said parliaments around Australia have knocked back legalised euthanasia in the last four years because of fears euthanasia could never be made safe for vulnerable, sick and elderly patients.
“The relatively short experience of legalised euthanasia in the Northern Territory found safeguards to be ineffectual,” Mr Brown said. “A report looking into the practical outworking of the legislation stated ‘four of the ‘seven deaths in Darwin’ revealed prominent features of depression, highlighting its strong role in decision-making by those seeking euthanasia. Alarmingly, these patients went untreated by a system preoccupied with meeting the requirements of the Act’s schedules rather than delivering competent medical care to depressed patients’[i],” said Mr Brown.
“According to a Tasmanian Council of Social Services Report (TasCOSS) elder abuse is already a growing social problem affecting an estimated 4,000 elderly Tasmanians every year. With such legislation proposed there is still the possibility of coercion even with doctor assessments and cooling off periods,” Mr Brown said.
“We have no confidence in the proposed model put forward in preventing people being euthanised without their consent – as shown in Belgium after it allowed assisted suicide. A Canadian Medical Association study in 2010 found that 32 per cent of euthanasia deaths in Belgium are carried out without explicit request, even though it is legally required,” Mr Brown said.
“In 2002, Holland passed euthanasia legislation aimed only at those suffering with a terminal illness. Now, however, 20 per cent of doctors in Holland are willing to help a patient who is simply ‘tired of life’
“The Belgian government is now looking at amending its legislation to allow euthanasia of children and Alzheimer’s suffers.
“The compassionate response to suffering is care, not killing. We should be willing to journey with people through their struggles; this should be the value placed on human life in a caring society.
“Premier Lara Giddings and Greens leader Nick McKim should be allocating resources into improving palliative care, not wasting parliamentary time and resources on debates that have already been had,” Mr Brown said.