They say: “No matter how often we tell them ‘just say no’, some people will want to inject themselves with illegal drugs.
“So to be truly compassionate, we could set up a room where they can inject themselves under supervision. Then, if they overdose, medical staff can give them an antidote on the spot to save their lives.”
Medically Supervised Injecting Centres/Rooms (MSICs or MSIRs) are already provided by state governments in Kings Cross NSW and Richmond Victoria. Another room is planned for Melbourne CBD.
The government-funded Alcohol and Drug Foundation is very supportive. It says while injecting drugs is not “exactly” safe, supervised facilities allow people to inject drugs with sterile equipment, avoid overdose deaths, and be referred to other services including general health, rehabilitation and treatment.
Sounds good. What could possibly go wrong?
Well quite a lot, according to Drug Free Australia.
This community organisation relies on donations from the public. It aims to support and educate young people, their families and communities to prevent any use of illegal drugs and the irresponsible use of legal drugs.
Drug Free Australia points out that providing a medically supervised injection room is an open invitation for addicts to take risks, knowing they will be revived if they overdose. Not surprisingly, there are many more overdoses in these facilities than on the streets.
But would you believe – 102 times more overdoses? In Victoria’s North Richmond facility in 2016, there were 23.5 overdoses per 1000 injections, compared with about 0.2 per 1000 on the streets.
In the Kings Cross MSIC that year, there were 14.6 overdoses per 1000 – again, a massive 63 times more in the government-funded facility than on the streets.
These staggering numbers of overdoses in Australia’s injecting rooms are caused by users experimenting with drug cocktails or increased opiate doses. This entails purchasing more drugs which must inevitably enrich local drug dealers.
Research data indicates injecting rooms do not improve local amenity. A survey of nearby residents after the North Richmond MSIR was established found fewer people now felt safe. Moreover, the number of discarded dirty needles has increased.
Research data also indicates that injecting rooms do not reduce transmissions of blood-borne viruses such as Hepatitis C. Injectors may indeed use the supervised facilities sometimes, but still share dirty needles with fellow addicts at other times.
Injecting rooms have very poor referral outcomes. Making an appointment for an addict to attend a detox/rehab centre is no guarantee that he or she will turn up.
Injecting rooms have also demonstrated a honey-pot effect, attracting dealers to the streets outside the facility – prompting expensive preventative policing operations
These policing operations have been mostly responsible for reductions in ambulance callouts for overdose in local areas, not injecting rooms.
Drug Free Australia pointed out on 18 June that the high cost (around $3 million per year) of saving just one life in an injecting room could pay for many users to enter rehab and become permanently drug-free, saving their lives.
Surely a no-brainer!
FamilyVoice is urging state governments to reject supervised injecting rooms and instead fund proven drug rehabilitation programs. Please pray that these governments will listen.
Peter Downie - National Director
Fiona Patten, ‘Reason’ Party Victorian upper house member has continued her war on Christianity, with the Education and Training Amendment (School Employment) Bill introduced into the upper house – a bill to undermine the school chaplaincy system. Debate will continue in coming weeks.
Ms Patten claims that a person must be a Christian to be employed as a chaplain and that other religions and atheists are discriminated against.
It is correct that if a school seeks to appoint a chaplain through the federal National Schools Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) then the funding for the position is provided through an accredited provider agency, most of whom are Christian.
In fact, any faith can set up a chaplaincy ‘provider,’ and seek accreditation.
Patten’s bill aims to force schools to find and engage their own chaplains. But chaplains from NSCP are trained and screened and do a wonderful job. A 2016 Kantar Public evaluation into NSCP found that 83% of parents of students attending public schools support having chaplaincy services and activities in their child’s school. This demonstrates the close school-community connection that exists under the current legislative arrangements.
Ms Patten’s bill is part of her relentless ideology war – she apparently cares little if children suffer through being exposed to a lower standard of chaplaincy or the potential loss of other support programs – so long as Christians are discriminated against.
As we continue to manage the COVID crisis and the many mental health challenges that arise, no consideration should be given to dismantling this key support for schools. If anything, consideration should be given to providing schools with additional funding for school chaplains during this time.
Chaplaincy ‘ain’t broke’ – and is providing excellent service to schools. Almost everyone except Patten is happy with the current arrangements. Why change it? And why this relentless discriminatory war on Christianity?
Please tell our government to throw out Ms Patten’s bill and leave our chaplains to care for kids.
Find your five upper house MPs below and email them:
Or use this link to enter your address, then > region > view member. Send an email to the address provided, letting your representative politely know how you feel.
Victoria’s Upper House members of parliament by region
Bruce Atkinson firstname.lastname@example.org;
Matthew Back email@example.com;
Rodney Barton Rodney.Barton@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Shaun Leane firstname.lastname@example.org;
Sonja Terpstra Sonja.Terpstra@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Melina Bath email@example.com;
Jeff Bourman firstname.lastname@example.org;
Jane Garrett email@example.com;
Harriet Shing firstname.lastname@example.org;
Edward O’Donohue Edward.ODonohue@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Georgie Crozier email@example.com;
David Davis firstname.lastname@example.org;
Enver Erdogan email@example.com;
Clifford Hayes Clifford.Hayes@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Nina Taylor Nina.Taylor@parliament.vic.gov.au;
South East Metropolitan
Tien Kieu Tien.Kieu@parliament.vic.gov.au;
David Limbrick David.Limbrick@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Gordon Rich-Phillips firstname.lastname@example.org;
Adam Somyurek email@example.com;
Lee Tarlamis firstname.lastname@example.org;
Catherine Cumming Catherine.Cumming@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Bernie Finn email@example.com;
Cesar Melhem firstname.lastname@example.org;
Ingrid Stitt Ingrid.Stitt@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Kaushaliya Vaghela Kaushaliya.Vaghela@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Stuart Grimley Stuart.Grimley@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Bev McArthur Beverley.McArthur@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Andy Meddick Andy.Meddick@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Jaala Pulford email@example.com;
Gayle Tierney firstname.lastname@example.org;
Nazih Elasmar email@example.com;
Craig Ondarchie firstname.lastname@example.org;
Fiona Patten email@example.com;
Samantha Ratnam firstname.lastname@example.org;
Mark Gepp email@example.com;
Jaclyn Symes firstname.lastname@example.org;
Wendy Lovell email@example.com;
Tania Maxwell Tania.Maxwell@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Tim Quilty Tim.Quilty@parliament.vic.gov.au;
Thousands of WA women will no longer be alerted to alternatives to abortion as new legislation seeks to outlaw peaceful vigils within 150 metres of abortion facilities.
The Public Health Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Bill 2020 is unnecessary, perpetuates violence and is a foolish attack on freedom of speech, according to FamilyVoice WA Director Darryl Budge.
“This proposal to ban speech opposing domestic violence against the unborn is unnecessary, as police already have the power to regulate public gatherings and they can intervene if unlawful harassment occurs,” Mr Budge said.
“Pro-life sidewalk counsellors in WA have never been charged, let alone convicted of ‘nuisance’ or ‘obstruction’ as set out by the existing Public Order in Streets Act (1984).
“This bill seeks to ban harassment, intimidation and threatening behaviour, but the government has not provided a single example of this occurring in WA.
“It proposes an extraordinary $12,000 fine and 12 months jail penalty if one breaches an Orwellian subjective ban on communication outside an abortion clinic that is ‘reasonably likely to cause distress or anxiety’.
“If the test for the validity of censorship is to stop any person feeling anxious, then the WA government should admit it discriminates against people who seek life for the unborn, while allowing speech and intimidation by animal and forest activists that distresses farmers and forest workers.
“The unborn must be protected from this unjustified attack against their right to life, and for their mother to be supported and encouraged to choose life.”
Health Minister Roger Cook admitted that choosing to kill a child’s life is “emotionally challenging”, and WA Liberal Party leader Liza Harvey said in 2019 that abortion is “traumatic” and alleged, without evidence, that women might have been “spat on or… coerced” by sidewalk counsellors.
Forty Days for Life vigil attendee Steve Klomp says that since the pro-life vigil came to WA fifteen years ago there have been no arrests, let alone convictions of wrong-doing, of any attendee.
“Vigil attendees are actually loving, non-judgemental, Christian people who pray on public land,” Steve explains. “They never approach any clinic attendees, nor do they call out anything. The only contact they have with people attending the clinics, save perhaps for an occasional wave, is when they are approached first.”
At times a passer-by will verbally abuse vigil attendees. “Their abuse is met with a smile and a blessing,” Steve says.
“Vigil attendees do not block driveways, they do not enter the clinic or its parking area and they do not occupy the footpath. The vigil is subject to a police permit and all attendees adhere strictly to the conditions laid out in that permit.”
In recent times these vigils have saved the life of an average of five children each year, according to Steve.
Vigils are held from 7AM to 5PM each day of Lent, except Sundays. They are held at other times of the year as well, but the largest vigils occur in the lead up to Easter.
“Every year there are five more children happily enjoying their childhood, with mums who are forever grateful they didn’t make the dreadful mistake of opting for an abortion,” he said.
Steve says that clinic staff will sometimes walk attendees from their cars into the clinic. “I wonder if they recognise the customers who are wavering and go and get them to ensure the sale.”
Although the clinics ring police often, “to set up a history of complaints,” according to Steve, vigil attendees have only been asked to leave once due to the technical issue of possessing the police permit electronically, but not on paper.
The last 40 Day for Life vigil at the Midland clinic was only permitted to stand beyond a four metre exclusion zone on one side of the driveway. No vigil attendees are permitted on the other side.
“WA Parliamentarians have often stated their goal is to reduce the number of abortions occurring in Western Australia, but the proposed legislation prevents us from saving lives.”
“No other expression of protest or vigil is so specifically over-regulated,” according to Mr Budge. “You are free of such legislation if you pray to end farming or if you want to protect trees or puppies, sharks or chickens, but not if you want to defend a child.”
In January this year, Aussie tennis legend Margaret Court was persecuted for her view that marriage is between a man and a woman. On the 50th anniversary of her world record 24 tennis Grand Slams, she was presented with a trophy in Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena, but not allowed to speak.
At the same time, lesser champions John McEnroe and Martina Navratilova ranted against her in a different part of the venue.
Now Margaret Court is being penalised again. But this time, the poor and needy in the community are being made to suffer as well.
Margaret now pastors the Victory Life Centre church in Perth. Among other things, her church provides free food, clothing and shelter for the growing number of people who need it.
The Margaret Court Community Outreach used to distribute 30 tonnes of food each week. But since the COVID pandemic hit and many people lost their jobs, they’ve been handing out 70 tonnes – more than double. As Andrew Bolt said on his Sky News program on 8 October, “Something had to give!”
So Victory Life approached LotteryWest. This body runs WA lotteries and is required to donate to charitable causes. Victory Life applied for a grant to buy a freezer van to help support desperate WA families.
But LotteryWest said no.
It told staff from the Victory Life Community Services Inc that they needn’t apply in the future either. It said LotteryWest is a major sponsor of the Gay Lesbian Mardi Gras. Any Victory Life request would not be successful because of Pastor Margaret Court’s views on marriage and gender issues.
“We do not discriminate,” LotteryWest told the staff. “We sponsor the LGBT parade, but not this church charity outlet.”
LotteryWest does not appear to know what “discriminate” means!
It is yet another case of people suffering discrimination for stating a view shared by many other Australians. Free speech is under attack in this country as never before.
Curiously, section 62 of the WA Equal Opportunity Act says it is an offence to discriminate against another person in the provision of grants on the grounds of a person’s religious convictions.
I have written to the WA Equal Opportunity Commission. I have asked them require LotteryWest – a WA government agency – to obey section 62 of the Equal Opportunity Act, and stop discriminating against Victory Life Community Services, whose help for the needy is vital during the COVID pandemic.
Margaret Court is planning to lodge a complaint against Lotterywest with WA's Equal Opportunity Commission.
But in the meantime, we need to send a strong statement to Lotterywest that religious discrimination is not okay and that the decision should be reversed immediately.
You can sign the open letter to Lotterywest at the following link:
Peter Downie - National Director
Tennis champion Margaret Court has criticised the West Australian Lotterywest charity that rejected her grant application last week, because she holds faith-based views on marriage and gender.
Margaret Court’s charity had invited Lotterywest to donate funding for a freezer truck that will assist the delivery of food to the needy. Lotterywest denied the grant, informing Margaret’s husband the charity would not receive any funding. According to reports, Lotterywest said they would never give Margaret Court funding, as Lotterywest is the principal sponsor of WA's Pride Festival.
“As you know there's been a bit of publicity out there and just something I'd like to put straight,” Court said at her church service on Sunday.
“I know when you're going through persecution, and Barry and Brian went into lottery's commission, and you know there was discrimination that came through all that.
“But some of the things that the press is saying from many years ago – that I said transgender, lesbians, that their children are the devil - I never said that”.
She said the Margaret Court Community Outreach is committed to helping all people - “whether you're a lesbian, whether you're transgender … we love all people and down in our MCCO all people are accepted in there.”
“I'll always stand for marriage and that's my beliefs and I shouldn't be discriminated because of my beliefs. And I will always stand with the word of God and it's been brought up in me since I was little so I'm not going to change for anybody,” she explained.
FamilyVoice Australia upholds Christian values and the family: permanence of marriage, sanctity of human life, primacy of parenthood and limited government.
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