By Darryl Budge, WA State Director
A recent news headline reads, “Police raid elderly Australians over euthanasia drugs”, as police attempt to do their job, yet only so far as curtailing illegal importation and use of intentionally lethal poisons intended to kill persons.
SUICIDE SAFEGUARDS NOT PROSECUTED
Australian Federal Police have identified hundreds of traffickers and seized around 15kg of euthanasia drugs between 2007 and 2014 (enough to kill between 1500 and 2500 people) but less than a handful of people have been convicted over an importation offence (whether a minor fine or a suspended sentence).
The federal penalty for importing suicidal poisons is up to 25 years imprisonment, or fines of up to $850,000.
Eight followers of Nitzsche’s pro-suicide group were recently visited by local police and were reportedly told, “We want you to hand over the drugs”.
Nitschke told AAP that police acted on intelligence shared by the Australian Federal Police, Interpol, and the US Department of Homeland Security. It appears email intercepts revealed up to 100 people may have ordered the illegal drugs.
He said that police “are claiming they are doing wellness checks, to make sure that you're a person who isn't in danger of ending your own life.”
The public could justly question whether police are willing to enforce the full extent of current laws.
Lawmakers may therefore justifiably judge that so-called euthanasia safeguards will not increase public safety in the hands of an ineffectual police force that has not prosecuted blatant importation offences.
PRO-SUICIDE DOCTORS BREAK PROMISES
Medical pro-suicide campaigners are boastfully breaking the law, while telling the public to trust them that they will abide by future safeguards.
Assisting a suicide in WA carries a penalty of life imprisonment. “Dr Death” campaigner Philip Nitschke of WA has boasted about assisting patients to import illegal euthanasia drugs, and was banned from practising medicine in 2014. One of his patients, Nigel Brayley was helped to commit suicide while under investigation over the suspicious death of his wife Lina.
In 1999, Nitschke advocated a suicide pill to be available to all who might want it, including children (The Advertiser, 12/8/1999 p3). In 2003, he told suicidal New Zealanders to ask vets to supply the drug to them illegally. He said, "If you happen to be the best friend of a vet, maybe things can be stitched up for you”, according to The Australian (14/4/2003 p3).
Dr Rodney Syme of Victoria was publicly filmed while assisting the suicide of Ray Godbold in 2015. The Victorian penalty for doctors for aiding a suicide was up to five years imprisonment, until the pro-euthanasia laws in July 2019. No Victorian doctor was charged with aiding and abetting a suicide in the previous 50 years.
No criminal charges have been laid on Dr Nitschke or Dr Syme.
Accordingly, lawmakers have the option of investigating police culture and appropriate penalties for certain crimes, instead of legalising assisted voluntary manslaughter by a medical practitioner.
Police, the Health Departments of Australia, and all of society, have a direct interest in preventing suicide, which means promoting the dignity and wellness of people through effective palliative care in their closing stages of life.
OVERSIGHT ALREADY REFUSED
The unreasonable plea for encouraging suicide by Dr Nitschke comes after the first terminally ill person has reportedly been granted permission to be assisted by doctors towards suicide under Victoria's new laws.
Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services has refused to provide details about the person’s age, illness and any other practical oversight regarding the request.
The Department will not publish a list of doctors who support assisted suicide, further curtailing any independent oversight of suicides, except by the department and its licensed doctors, none of whom are legally compelled to self-incriminate.
Two government-appointed "navigators" have been hired in Victoria to assist patients and their families, acting like a suicide-only shopfront. They are known to cold-call doctors, effectively called “doctor-shopping”, to locate a doctor who is willing to provide euthanasia for a patient.
Doctor-shopping is especially useful if a doctor refuses to provide assisted suicide and recommends that another medical pathway has better whole-of-life outcomes for the patient and their family.
The Victorian legal system does not require either of the two doctors who verify a request to have any medical expertise in the patient’s condition, or to have qualifications in mental health assessment.
Rather than increasing public safety, the hollow promises of ‘safeguards’ by the pro-suicide campaign appear to be an ineffectual speedbump on a pathway to no restrictions.
FamilyVoice expects a pro-assisted-suicide bill from the Labor government of Western Australia later this year. The WA Ministerial Expert Panel recently recommended a model that has even less protections than the Victorian laws.
We will provide more details about the legislation, and how to contact WA MPs, as soon as they come to light.
World swimming body FINA has levered podium protests at its Gwangju world championships as an opportunity to ban religious expression by competitors at all future FINA events.
The new Code of Conduct provision entitled “rules of conduct during the competition” was enacted after an alleged drug cheat was snubbed at two official FINA medal ceremonies.
The two new clauses, which could breach international human rights (ICCPR Article 18), effectively ban religious statements or behaviour “during competition” and appear to apply to all modes of communication, including social media.
The new code of conduct, according to News.com.au, reads: “The competitors shall actively participate in the full conduct of the competition including victory ceremonies and, if applicable, presentations and or press conferences”.
“They shall strictly avoid any offensive or improper behaviour towards the officials, the other competitors, the team members and/or the spectators during the entire conduct of the competition. Any political, religious or discriminatory statement or behaviour is strictly prohibited.”
According to FamilyVoice WA State Director Darryl Budge, these clauses are dangerously broad.
“Such clauses are so expansive that if Israel Folau agreed to similar terms in his Wallabies playing contract, Rugby Australia would have a much stronger case against him.
“A competitor or spectator might claim to have heard or seen a political or religious statement, even if it was not intentionally addressed to them, as in the case of social media. Alternatively, they may claim to possess a subjective, unverifiable feeling that the athlete’s behaviour was ‘offensive or improper’.
“Sporting competitions and teams have increasingly become platforms to exclude political and religious viewpoints and advocate solely for the claimed ‘righteousness’ of homosexual or transgender identity.”
Mr Budge comments about a recent American example.
“In a Folau-like case, Christian sportswoman Jaelene Hinkle reportedly rejected a place on the American national soccer team, because it would force her to wear a pro-LGBT rainbow jersey.
“The team coach is a lesbian, whose religious beliefs about LGBT values appear to be decidedly exclusionary against biblically-firm Christians.”
There are many more such cases of discrimination.
A Christian doctor in the UK is suing the government after he was sacked for refusing to refer to patients except by their obvious biological sex.
A UK school student who disputed his teacher’s claim that there are more than two genders has been banned from returning to the school.
UK social work student Felix Ngole recently won a three-year court battle, after being expelled in 2016 from the University of Sheffield for quoting Bible verses on Facebook.
Religious freedom is increasingly under threat, not only for Australian athletes, but all employees, all independent schools, charities and organisations with a religious mission.
As Australia is committed to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, our nation should treat freedom as a positive right and not regard it as a narrow exemption.
Texas has passed a law to protect religious businesses from government discrimination.
Senate Bill 1978 forbids any branch or agency of the Texas government, as well as lower jurisdictions, from taking any “adverse action” pertaining to any “grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, loan, scholarship, license, registration, accreditation, employment, or other similar status” on the basis of someone’s “sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions regarding marriage.”
The law was dubbed the ‘Save Chick-fil-A’ bill after the famous American restaurant chain which has come under pressure for its refusal to toe the LGBT line.
The company has donated millions of dollars to groups which support man-woman marriage, angering social justice warriors.
Its president and chief operating officer also came under fire for warning of the consequences for America if the country embraced same-sex ‘marriage’.
And the San Antonio City Council even voted earlier this year to prevent the opening of a Chick-fil-A at the San Antonio International Airport because of the company’s opposition to LGBT ideology.
Texas governor Greg Abbott who recently signed the law said that Texas protects religious liberty.
“No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners donate to a church, the Salvation Army, or other religious organization,” said Abbott.
A Christian printer has won a significant victory in Poland, when a court last week overturned his conviction for refusing to print LGBT propaganda.
In a decision being hailed as a win for freedom of conscience, a Polish court ruled that a criminal conviction should not have been imposed on a Christian printer for refusing to print LGBT event materials.
After a lengthy legal battle, the court ruled that the law was unconstitutional because the penalty interfered with the printer’s right to conscience.
Paul Coleman, Executive Director of Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal advocacy organisation that protects fundamental freedoms, hailed the decision as a win for freedom of conscience.
Coleman said the decision will reaffirm the standard expected from other European countries on the protection of conscience rights for service providers.
“No one should be forced to choose between their profession and their faith”.
“This recent decision at the Constitutional Tribunal confirms this fundamental right to freedom of conscience and the right for individuals to live in accordance with what they believe,” Paul Coleman explained.
“Across Europe, an increasing number of citizens are facing an unacceptable choice. Either violate their conscience or face punishment from the state. This ranges from medical professionals to bakeries who are forced to decide between what they believe and their livelihood. They risk criminal charges, fines, damage to their reputation, and social discrimination”, he added.
By Caleb Stephen
The embattled athlete had an extraordinarily successful professional sporting career. He has played across three codes: Rugby Union, Rugby League and AFL. Folau is Super Rugby’s highest Australian all-time try scorer.
What follows is a brief breakdown of the events that led to Israel Folau being sacked for expressing Christian views.
On April 10 in an Instagram post, Folau warned a number of classes of sinners, including homosexuals, that if they did not repent, would end up in hell.
Folau in a church sermon also expressed concern about children “transitioning” gender.
“In today’s youths and everything, they are allowing young kids in primary school to be able to have the permission to change their gender if they want by taking away the permission of the parents,” Folau said.
“Now they are trying to take control as a government to make those decisions for young kids who are basically 16 years old or young, they don’t even know what they are doing.”
Folau has also spoken out against same-sex ‘marriage’.
“They say that a man and a man should be able to be married and there is nothing wrong with it,” he said.
“This buys into the theme of pleasing man rather than pleasing God and standing up for the truth.”
In May, Rugby Australia terminated Folau’s four year, $4 million contract for his comments on Instagram claiming that they were undermining “inclusivity.”
Folau has since launched legal action which, if successful, could bankrupt Rugby Australia.
This is not the first time Folau has been targeted for refusing to support the LGBTI status quo.
Last year the media roasted Folau over a response to a question on social media asking: “what was gods [sic] plan for gay people??”.
Folau responded: “HELL.. Unless they repent of their sins and turn to God”.
In response to the post and the resulting heated controversy, Folau wrote a PlayersVoice piece saying he would not compromise his faith in Jesus Christ, citing it as “the cornerstone of every single thing in my life.”
In mid June, Folau setup a GoFundMe campaign asking people to donate to fight Rugby Australia, following the termination of his contract.
After a "period of evaluation", the site claimed Folau's campaign “violated” its terms of service citing its lack of toleration for the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.
Ironically, the prominent fundraising platform failed to justify its conspicuous discrimination of Folau due to his Christian beliefs.
GoFundMe’s termination of Folau’s fundraising campaign backfired. The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) subsequently set up its own fundraiser and reported donations had been “overwhelming” - reaching over $2 million in 48 hours.
The campaign was so successful that ACL froze donations to the heavily trafficked site due to reaching the fundraising target.
Folau wrote on the ACL website: “I have had the honour and the privilege of representing my country on the sporting field, for which I will be forever grateful.
“I am also a Christian. My faith is the most important thing in my life. I try to live my life according to the Bible and I believe it is my duty to share the word of the Bible.”
Folau’s controversial termination dispute with Rugby Australia appears headed for a showdown in the Federal Court after a failed mediation attempt between the two parties at the Fair Work Commission in June.
Folau’s lawyer George Haros, said: “We are disappointed that we were unable to reach a settlement with Rugby Australia and the NSW Waratahs through the Fair Work Commission, despite numerous good-faith discussions. We are now considering our options, which includes the possibility of court action.”
If Folau wins, it will set a precedent that would protect employees’ rights to express their beliefs publicly and lead to a narrowing of employment contracts clauses and also codes of conduct.
Interestingly, the Wallabies lost to the Springboks 35-17 in the Rugby Championship opener in Johannesburg, Saturday - Australia's first test match without Folau.
Ahead of the match days earlier, Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus told media that the Wallabies would be “less of a threat aerially without him [Folau].”
“I don’t know how influential he was as a leader but certainly I think we have a better chance in the aerial department. He is a great striker and finishes tries. He was the top-try scorer [in Super Rugby]. He is an influential player,” Erasmus said.
“There is no doubt they will miss Folau because he is a world-class player but they interchange positions no matter the number on their back.”
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