X-Message-Number: 6082
From: Peter Merel <>
Subject: Dying to go to Australia.
Date: Thu, 18 Apr 1996 00:59:40 +1000 (EST)

David Brandt-Erichsen writes,

>Australia's Right to Life Association, which
>had joined churches and the main doctors' lobby to oppose the new law, has
>likened the movement of terminally ill people to the Northern Territory as a
>form of "one way tourism."
>"You will see a whole congregation of people arriving up there, " said Kath
>Harrigan, a spokeswoman for Right to Life. "It will be wholesale killing of

I might again clarify our context for the non-Australians on this list.
As mentioned here before, Australian Right to Lifers are a very small
and toothless  group; abortion on demand has been legal here for a long
time, and abortion is not a political issue at any level of government.

Our churches, though not without their fingers in pies, are also
generally unrepresented in government. They do get canvassed by our
media when euthanasia is discussed, but ultimately they have very little
sway over popular opinion and political funding. The American
preoccupation with religion is regarded here as ... well, "quaint" might
be a close translation.

There has been considerable support in the Australian states of New
South Wales and Victoria recently for laws to permit euthanasia along
the lines of the NT law, and many pundits are predicting that these laws
will go through before the end of the year. Worth noting that these same
states are looking at decriminalising marijuana use this year too.

This is not to say that Australia is a civil-liberties paradise - far
from it.  In fact the NSW government is preparing to table some of the
harshest anti-Internet legislation in the world. We have no bill of rights
here, nor any explicit constitutional assertion of individual rights. In
practice this means that individual freedoms are neither strongly supported
by our governments, nor are they strongly opposed. 

So we have won the freedom to die, but not the freedom to speak ...

Peter Merel.

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