LATEST ASSISTED SUICIDE BILL FAILS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the narrow defeat of the latest attempt to legalise assisted suicide. “The all night debate in the South Australian Parliament has further highlighted that making euthanasia safe for society’s most vulnerable is simply not possible,” ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said.The 4:30am parliamentary defeat of the Death with Dignity Bill in South Australia should draw a line under this long-running debate. Mr Shelton said if campaigners for assisted suicide were to continue their crusade, there should be a proper national debate about the consequences for the vulnerable, including the mentally ill, before new bills were shopped around the States.
“This is an issue that should be resolved at a national level to avoid death tourism across state borders,” Mr Shelton said. “Most Australians are not aware of the latest data from Belgium which reveals that mentally ill people are being euthanised.” Mr Shelton thanked Labor Speaker Michael Atkinson for his advocacy for the vulnerable and for using his casting vote to defeat the legislation. “So called safeguards again were unable to convince a majority of Parliamentarians. Duncan McFetridge MP’s was unable to address MP’s concerns, throughout a night of vigorous questioning,” Mr Shelton said. Mr Shelton said the vote would come as a relief to the sick and vulnerable in aged care facilities, for whom the right to die, if legislated, would soon become the duty to die.
“The final bill was a compromise where Mr McFetridge accepted any and all suggested amendments in a desperate bid to get any form of assisted suicide legislation over the line,” Mr Shelton said. “The version taken to a vote after 4:30am sought to legalise assisted suicide for people with a terminal medical condition where death is ‘inevitable’ within six months. There were no meaningful safeguards and Mr McFetridge was unable to convince a majority of his colleagues. “Mr Chris Picton MP, who proposed the six months time frame, took comfort from the Oregon assisted suicide legislation. He described the six month time frame as a safeguard but lessons from Oregon are that safeguards there are illusory. In Oregon, patients with diabetes, hepatitis, and HIV received lethal drugs for assisted suicide.
“The Bill’s proponents voted to have the debate continue through the night in an unseemly rush to pass a Bill that did not satisfy the requirements of South Australia’s Australian Medical Association. The AMA said to MPs that doctors do not wish to be involved in killing their patients. “Claims by proponents of the bill that it was possible to provide adequate safeguards to protect the aged and vulnerable were disingenuous and do not reflect what is occurring in jurisdictions where state-sanctioned suicide exists.” Mr Shelton urged those considering the one vote defeat of the bill to listen to international warnings and the opposition from the Australian Medical Association.
“We cannot ignore the growing alarm among doctors and mental-health professionals in Europe who are witnessing euthanasia being extended beyond the terminally ill and now being carried out on those with depression, mental illness or disabilities,” Mr Shelton said. Last month, the Washington Post revealed that the euthanasia of people with mental illnesses or cognitive disorders, including dementia was a common occurrence in Belgium and the Netherlands. “Belgium and the Netherlands are held up as ‘best practice’ examples by euthanasia proponents such as Andrew Denton, but over time so-called safeguards had been whittled away,” Mr Shelton said. “Statistics coming from the Netherland and Belgium demonstrate state-sanctioned suicide is anything but safe.”
A recent report from Belgium’s Federal Commission on the Control and Evaluation of Euthanasia, and reported in the Washington Post, shows that the unthinkable was happening in that country; 3.1 per cent of all euthanasia cases in the period 2014-15 were for mental and behavioural disorders. “If you follow the logic of euthanasia proponents, it is easy to see how safeguards are removed, if not immediately, then in the future,” Mr Shelton said. In Belgium, more than 20 per cent of non-terminally ill patients were administered lethal injections during the 2014-15, leading doctors in that country to call for a ban on euthanasia for the mentally ill. In 2014 Belgium extended its laws to provide lethal injections to terminally ill children of any age.
In the Netherlands, 13 psychiatric patients and a further 49 early stage dementia patients were euthanised. “As a compassionate society we can find better ways to deal with the suffering which do not draw us into providing state-sanctioned killing,” Mr Shelton said. Mr Shelton said the ACL and its supporters understood and supported the aim of making end of life as comfortable as possible for those suffering pain. “While ACL understands and shares the desire to see people relieved of their pain, this can be better achieved by taking advantage of the tremendous medical advances in palliative care,” Mr Shelton said. “Palliative care is a more prudent way of ensuring a dignified death than public policy which is open to abuse and which unwittingly puts pressure on the ill and vulnerable to end their lives.
CALL FOR INTERCESSORS TO SUPPORT MEDICAL STAFF WORKING IN DRUG REHABILITATION AND RESEARCH
Editor’s note: This article has been written by a medical professional (Dr Stuart Reece) working in the field of drug rehabilitation and research. It is a cry for help to those called by God to stand with the medical profession, to see breakthrough in the area of drug addiction in our nation. If you feel God is calling you to provide prayer support to this particular man, and others like him, then you may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to become part of an ongoing prayer support group that will undergird this important work in which he is involved. He will provide information on an ongoing basis that will fuel your prayer in this area. Whilst the writer of the article is a member of our network, the prayer support team he is endeavouring to raise up will not be affiliated with the Australian Prayer Network.
The drug situation in Australia is in a state of flux, and urgently requires prayer across the country to save us from falling into a drug-destroyed abyss. It is no secret that parts of the world in which drugs are widely used, including parts of India, Morocco, and in Western nations such as Netherlands with their recent failed cannabis experiment, and in Sweden in 1965 with their failed heroin experiment, can descend quickly into severe social chaos, which in some places seems to be irreversible. That similar changes are afoot in this country is cause for the greatest concern. Since drug addiction is profoundly spiritual this requires a spiritual and a practical response from people of faith and particularly Christians of all denominations.
Illegal drugs have been unlawful in Australia in line with many other nations since the signing of the 1961 Single convention. However that situation is rapidly changing. In January 2016 Australia decided to decriminalize cannabis use, a change which will become effective from November 2016. Whilst one cannot be completely sure of the changes this will entail it is purported to mean that one cannot be imprisoned for personal cannabis use. It is understood that cannabis dealing can still be prosecuted. How hundred hectare cannabis farms in the Nimbin area fit into this legal paradigm is unclear. The leading addiction scientists in the world have published in the top medical journal in the world warning of the risks of widespread use of cannabis, particularly by adolescents.
Dangers such as respiratory disease, many mental illnesses, damage to brain development, driving impairment made worse when co-abused with alcohol, an amotivational state, a gateway introduction effect to the use of other addictive substances, elevated rates of heart attacks, long term welfare dependency and unemployability are all well documented and widely agreed in the professional literature. There are ten studies showing elevated rates of cancers including inheritable cancers of childhood, and many studies of and severe foetal malformations reported for babies exposed to cannabis inside their mothers during gestation which are actually very similar to those seen with thalidomide.
The present push for medical cannabis is nothing more than the thin edge of the wedge, the soft sell for the legalization of first cannabis and then all illicit drugs. The clinical trials of cannabidiol in childhood epilepsy involve only a few dozen children, and yet the representation is made that the illicit drug conventions of the world need to be re-worked on that basis. Studies documenting that the programming of genes is damaged for three to four generations by interfering with the epigenetic “software” which programs genes indicate that children will be amongst the hardest hit victims of the new “green holocaust.”
In a recent meeting with the Federal Health Minister her office agreed that cannabis had major negative health effects and that in view of surveys showing that 40% of our population had used cannabis, a public health warning message was urgently needed to be broadcast to the Australian people. However nothing would be done because of the interference of the entrenched power block. We see much evidence of the devastation wrought by “ice” on the TV screens on many nights. The world is clearly crying out for an “ice” cure. Medicine does not have a specific treatment for ice. It is into this situation that prayer has the potential to make the most impact for good and is the reason that a prayer support team is being raised up to specifically pray into solutions for this complex problem in our nation.
LEGALISING PROSTITUTION IN QUEENSLAND A MASSIVE FAILURE
Legalising prostitution in Queensland has been a massive failure with the State’s watchdog admitting that most prostitution continues to occur illegally. In its 2015-16 report, the Prostitution Licensing Authority acknowledged that the 1999 Prostitution Act, billed as the answer to curtailing uncontrolled prostitution run by criminal gangs and pimps, has failed. “As it is, most prostitution in the state occurs outside of licensed brothels” it says in the Annual Report. Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Queensland Director Wendy Francis said this was supported by research from the University of Queensland’s Human Trafficking Working Group, which found that after 10 years of brothel licensing in Queensland, most of the state’s prostitution industry remained unregulated and illegal.
Comments reported from Denise Rogers, owner of a Gold Coast brothel, that there is a proliferation of illegal operators reinforced the fact that the Queensland Government has lost control of prostitution since legalising it 16 years ago. “The fact that legal brothels represent such a small part of the prostitution industry in Queensland makes a mockery of the point in the annual report that there is no trafficking in ‘legal’ brothels,” Ms Francis said. “All this means is that there are absolutely no protections provided for trafficked women and girls in illegal prostitution, which the Authority acknowledges is where most prostitution occurs. “When the Prostitution Act was introduced we were told legal brothels would solve the problem of illegal operators and make it safe,” she said.
“Clearly this has failed with a proliferation of illegal brothels since the law changed. Instead of reducing harm, this policy has multiplied it. “This report provides further evidence that wherever prostitution has been legalised, the illegal trade flourishes. “The Annual Report fails to report on the criminal elements and sex trafficking that continues to pervade prostitution in the State. “The Queensland Government would be doing a great disservice to Queenslanders and to trafficked women being exploited if they do not take stock of the failures of the Prostitution Act,” she said. “The Queensland Government needs to adopt the world’s best practice by adopting the Nordic Approach to prostitution, which targets the people that are profiting through the exploitation of women.”