Euthanasia: NSW keeps it criminal

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews led the euthuanasia debate

Euthanasia: Victoria’s MPs declare it lawful but NSW MPs keep it criminal

 Victoria is the most politically and culturally progressive State in Australia while NSW runs a poor third or fourth.

Melbourne is a cultured city of booksellers, restaurants, galleries, parks, gardens, the MCG and coffee. Sydney is obsessed with wealth as social status, real estate prices, private education and gambling.

Sydneysiders live in a state of denial. They believe their city is cultured because there is an Opera House on Sydney Harbour. But few of them ever go to it – because it is unaffordable.

They allow government after government to spend billions of dollars on football stadiums, the NRL, Randwick racecourse and the SCG while starving money to culture venues such as the Australian Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the State Library.

Unlike Victoria where historic homes, gardens and buildings are developed, funded and maintained, in NSW they are “For Sale” to private developers. They are either torn down and replaced by ugly apartment blocks for overseas investors (i.e. tax dodgers) or turned into commercial tourist venues.

NSW stands for vulgarity and Victoria for values.

Victorian MPs have voted to introduce a voluntary assisted dying Bill while their counterparts in NSW voted it down. It is a stark demonstration of the difference in cultural and social values. Discuss.

The fix was in

When MPs in the NSW Upper House killed euthanasia legislation 20 votes to 19 it was a carefully choreographed burial. The outcome was utterly predictable. The factional heavies from all factions from all parties made sure there was a “debate” followed by a “free vote”.

It was not a “cliff hanger” as some sections of the media suggested. It was a foregone conclusion. Behind the “free vote” was an organised plan to kill the bill. Lobbyists from the organised churches – Roman Catholic, Anglican, Church of Fred Nile, Maronite and orthodox Jewish – patrolled parliament and hit the phones to make sure that there was a “democratic debate” followed by a “No” vote.

In the process, Upper House MPs on $200,000-a-year ignored the well-established majority views of the NSW electorate in metropolitan, regional and rural areas.

Labor’s Peter Primrose spoke magnificently when he outlined the consistency of public opinion in support of euthanasia.

Primrose said: “In 2002, a Roy Morgan Research national poll asked the following question: ‘If a hopelessly ill patient, experiencing unbelievable suffering, with absolutely no chance of recovery, asks for a lethal dose, should a doctor be allowed to give a lethal dose or not?’

“To this question, 73 per cent of respondents answered Yes. In 2007, the same question was asked by a national news poll. This time 80 per cent of respondents said Yes and 14 per cent said No. In 2009, Newspoll found the Yes vote had climbed to 85 per cent, and the No vote had dropped to just 10 per cent. In 2012, Newspoll found the Yes vote was 82.5 per cent and the No vote was just 12.7 per cent.

“In June 2015 the Economist/Ipsos Mori poll asked the following question: ‘What do you think about doctor assisted dying? Do you think it should be legal or not for a doctor to assist a patient aged 18 years or over in ending their life, if that is the patient’s wish, provided that the patient is terminally ill (where it’s believed they have 6 months or less to live), of sound mind, and express a clear desire to end their life?

“The result was that Yes gained 73% and No 15%. In 2015 and again in 2016, the ABC Vote Compass asked a similar question, and in both years found the Yes vote to be 75% and the No vote 16%.

“Every poll over the past 15 years has come up with similar figures. The latest Morgan Poll was released on 2 November this year. The poll asked: ‘If a hopelessly ill patient with no chance of recovering asks for a lethal dose, should a doctor be allowed to give a lethal dose, or not?’ The result of the poll was that 85% of NSW respondents said Yes.”

Primrose concluded: “Those who oppose this legislation can claim many things when making their case, but they cannot claim to represent the overwhelming majority of the community who want this legislation enacted.”

Majority rights ignored

Adam Searle, Labor’s Leader in the Council, made some unanswerable points as well: “Opinion polls in this country have continued to show overwhelming and growing public support—at 85% now—for assisted dying to allow for better choice at the end of life.

“It is perhaps worth noting that surveys on the matter consistently show high levels of support, even amongst those persons who are religious. A national Newspoll survey in 2012, for example, showed that 88% of Anglicans and 77% of Catholics agreed that a doctor should be allowed to meet a request from a hopelessly ill patient for assistance to die.”

However, MPs weren’t listening to factual arguments from Primrose or Searle; they were listening to Tony Abbott (Liberals and Nationals) and Paul Keating (Labor). These two formed an unholy Catholic alliance to frighten NSW legislators to oppose the Bill, but their scaremongering didn’t work in Victoria.

For the record, Labor MPs who joined right-wing Liberals, Shooters and Fishers and Fred Nile MPs to vote “No” were: Greg Donnelly (former shoppies’ union official), Ms Courtney Houssos (former Sussex Street bureaucrat), Shaoquette Moselmane (former southern Sydney numbers man), Walt Secord (former Bob Carr staffer) and Ernest Wong (former Sussex Street bureaucrat).

I wish them no harm but when family members and friends are screaming with pain from terminal illnesses, I hope they reject their pathetic “consciences” and call for the Nambutal.

Offshore tax havens: Scoop?

In the past two years the mainstream media all over the world has enjoyed access to the Panama Papers (2016) and the Paradise Papers (2017).

The Panama “leak” comprised 11.5 million documents detailing secret taxation arrangements of more than 214,000 offshore entities. An anonymous whistleblower copied the files from the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, and sent them the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).

Last month the Paradise Papers hit the media with more tax haven revelations: 13.4 million documents from the offshore law firm Appleby giving the names of 120,000 clients with businesses registered in 19 jurisdictions where assets are squirreled away.

Again the files were sent to Suddeutsche Zeitung where they were verified before being handed to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists based on Washington DC.

Certain aspects of the Panama and Paradise “sensation” concern me:

  • Nothing has resulted from the Panama Papers release. No criminal prosecutions, no trials, no convictions and no one locked up.
  • Why does the mainstream media give sweeping accolades to the leak of the Panama and Paradise papers, but treat Wikileaks with contempt and outright hostility for its whistleblowing?
  • The ICIJ is regarded as a haven of journalistic excellence, but Australian journalist Julian Assange and his Wikileakages are regarded as “treasonous”. Is it because ICIJ is buried in offshore business scams (which the World Bank, the IMF and the reserve banks are trying to clean up anyway) while Wikileaks is exposing the war crimes of American imperialism, NATO and their Western allies?
  • Why is the mainstream media sending its best and brightest to Washington DC, the secrets capital of the world which is also the surveillance capital of the world, for months at a time on all-expenses-paid trips? It just doesn’t make sense.
  • If anyone wanted to “prove” that investigating crooked companies and tax cheats is very expensive and tremendously time-consuming, then the right model has been chosen. In fact, the reality is that all it requires is a team of four – two writer/researchers, an accountant or business journalist and a lawyer. Give them four weeks and, if they are doing their jobs, they could land a “whale” or two. And if they don’t, they are not doing their job so replace them.

I am reminded of the late Murray Sayle’s dictum that there are only two basic newspaper stories: “we name the guilty men” and “arrow indicates defective part”. Another great Aussie journalist, Bruce Page, said that Sayle’s remark contained an implicitly serious message. “It was really a way of calling attention to the fact that large tracts of so-called ‘serious journalism’ had nothing to say and put nothing at risk,” Page argued, and I agree with both of them.

Queen’s tax scandal

When Mrs Brenda Windsor, aka QEII, was mentioned in the Paradise Papers there were screaming headlines for 24 hours. Then Buckingham Palace telephoned some newspaper editors and the story evaporated into thin air. Why?

Brenda’s share portfolio is in the hands of a Cabinet-ranking minister called the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The offending investment uncovered in the Paradise Papers were shares worth $6000 in a firm called BrightHouse. They were purchased in 2004 when the Chancellor of Duchy of Lancaster was appointed by the ghastly Tony Blair and his treacherous New Labour administration. The “buy” order was given by either of two Cabinet ministers: Alan Milburn, a rabid Blairite and former MP for Darlington now working for PricewaterhouseCoopers and a great friend of right-wing ALP shadow ministers and Sussex Street; or John Hutton, former MP for Barrow and Furness who became Baron Hutton of Furness in 2010.

The media did not bother to track down the circumstances of this seedy investment or the size of QEII’s vast investments and assets, much of it located in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Guernsey where the Union Jack still flutters. Reputed to be the richest woman in the world, her fortune stands at an estimated AUS$30 billion.

What about a voluntary postal ballot asking: “Do you want a naturalised Australian as Head of State?” Just think of the savings!

New Scottish Labour leader

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard

A Yorkshireman who is a political ally of Jeremy Corbyn has been elected leader of the wretched Scottish Labour Party. He is Richard Leonard, an MP in the Scottish Parliament representing Central Scotland who had the support of Scotland’s leftish trade unions. The former head of economics at the Scottish TUC, Leonard defeated fellow Scottish MP Anas Sarwar who had the support of Labour’s diminishing band of Blairites.

Leonard replaced Kezia Dugdale who resigned suddenly in August and later revealed she had left her longtime same sex partner to start a relationship with a female politician from the Scottish National Party (SNP).

This week Ms Dugdale, who is a serving Scottish Labor MP, arrived on the Gold Coast to join fellow worthless non-entities to take part in the “live” TV reality show, I’m a Celebrity – Get me out of here! Her fellow contestants include Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, painful chorister Vanessa White and boxer Amir Khan.

The show is filmed in the hills about 15 minutes from where I live. Most locals hope that they will be bitten by venomous snakes, leeches, spiders, maggots, possums, koalas and angry toads.

I simply wish they would live up to the programme’s name – and get out of here.

Ultra-Christian untrousered

Wes Goodman, a Republic state legislator in Ohio who leads the State’s right-wing Christian lobby, has resigned after he was caught having sex with a man in his parliamentary office.

Wes Goodman: Christian. American. Conservative Republican

Goodman, aged 33, regarded as “the conscience of the conservative movement”, is married to the assistant director of Ohio’s annual anti-abortion rally known as March for Life. He regularly blabs that “natural marriage” is between a man and a woman.

His Twitter biography describes him as “Christian. American. Conservative. Republican. Husband to Beth. Healthy, vibrant, thriving, values-driven families are the source of Ohio’s proud history and the key to Ohio’s future greatness.”

These website hypocrisies have now been taken down. But I don’t see why being gay prevents him from being a good parent and a good legislator?

United States of Imbecilia

In 1997 British author J K Rowling published her debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Warner Brothers bought the screen rights and released it worldwide in 2001. However, the title was changed for US cinemas to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Asked why, a studio executive replied: “Our audience doesn’t know what a philosopher is.”

Quote of the Week

“Men are like Eveready batteries who are ready for sex at any time. You just have to give us that wink and we’re in, we’re in, we’re in.”

  • Ian Britza, former Liberal MP in WA, former Christian pastor and Australian Country Party candidate in New England by-election on Saturday, December 2. Another contestant in the 17-candidate race is geneticist Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow from Sydney.

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