Blogs

Posted on Monday 13th November 2017 at 6:28pm

A new report to be published this week slams Jones & Paton’s 2015 “suicide contagion” study, and Kheriaty’s editorial of it, as unscientific and containing multiple substantial instances of bias.

In the ongoing political campaign against assisted dying law reform, opponents have spread one piece of egregious misinformation after another. One of the most common is supposed “suicide contagion” from assisted dying laws to general suicide, a theory popularised by Catholic Prof. Margaret Somerville. Despite the nonsense of her claim being comprehensively exposed, she still believes that her opinion “will prove to be correct.” Two journal papers published in 2015 purported to, but didn't, establish suicide contagion in Oregon and Washington states.

Assisted dying law reform opponents are still relying on a 2015 paper by Catholics David Jones and David Paton, bolstered by a glowing editorial of it written by Catholic psychiatrist Aaron Kheriaty, published in the Southern Medical Journal, as continued ‘proof’ of suicide contagion theory, at least in respect of USA states Oregon and Washington (since data from other lawful jurisdictions contradicts the theory).

Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Assisted dying (AD) | USA | Oregon | Catholic Church | Margaret Somerville | Analysis | Article review | Statistics | Rhetoric | Rhetoric: Suicide 'contagion'

 

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Posted on Monday 30th October 2017 at 11:20pm

Across the country, most Coalition MPs (with notable exceptions) demonstrate themselves to be ‘unrepresentative swill’ when it comes to honouring the electorate’s wish for assisted dying law reform.

It was with tongue in cheek that I recently quoted former Prime Minister Paul Keating to wonder if politicians voting on assisted dying Bills were ‘unrepresentative swill.’ The now-obvious answer to this question has become more than just humorous, with the publication yesterday of the Hansard record of Victoria’s Legislative Assembly vote on the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017.

How ironic it was that the very day after I quoted Keating’s slight against his then-hostile Senate, Keating himself, a conservative Catholic, would come out against voluntary assisted dying (VAD) reform.

Hansard record makes compelling reading

But, more importantly, the Hansard record of votes on the Victorian Bill in the lower house make for compelling reading.

Keywords: Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Analysis | Legislative reform | Poll / survey | Statistics

 

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Posted on Wednesday 18th October 2017 at 9:41pm

As the Victorian Parliament debates its Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, shenaningans are afoot in the corridors of power.

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating once famously branded the Senate “unrepresentative swill” for obstructing his legislative agenda. Today, the question of how representative our political masters are remains moot.

Major community support for VAD

Take voluntary assisted dying (VAD) for example. Poll after poll demonstrates that the overwhelming majority of Australians want this additional choice for people in extremis at the end of life. The impeccable Australian Election Survey (AES) conducted by Australian National University scholars last year confirmed that 77% of Australians want VAD reform, with 13% undecided and just 10% opposed.

Keywords: Filibuster | Fudge | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Analysis | Legislative reform | Statistics

 

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Posted on Friday 13th October 2017 at 10:11am

Anglican and Catholic bishops seem to be going out of their way to alienate their constituencies over social policy law reforms.

Anglican and Catholic bishops seem to be going out of their way to alienate their constituencies, including in respect of voluntary assisted dying and marriage equality law reform. As a result, the writing on the wall is writ large for the continued decline of religion in Australia.

Many Australian clerics are trying their hardest to foil Parliamentary attempts to drag Australia into the 21st century on social policy. They seem to care little for the ongoing demise of their own constituencies.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | New South Wales | Victoria | Catholic Church | Religion | Christian | Anglican/Church of England/Episcopal

 

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Posted on Thursday 12th October 2017 at 1:50am

I challenge the latest religious right commentators opposing Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill to skip the flip-flopping and engage constructively.

I challenge the latest religious right commentators opposing Victoria’s Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill to skip the flip-flopping and engage constructively.

They’re at it again. This time it’s the religious right’s latest ‘think tank’ front group, the impressively-named Institute for Civil Society. Sounds grand, doesn’t it?

But if you look into their lot in life, it’s to protect ‘religious freedoms.’ By that, they mean the right to lawfully discriminate against others of whom they disapprove, while at the same time arguing that they not be discriminated against.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Filibuster | Flip-flop | Fudge | Faith | Physician-assisted dying (PAD) | Australia | Victoria | Religion | Rhetoric: Killing | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Tuesday 10th October 2017 at 7:58am

Catholic anti-assisted dying lobbyist Mr Paul Russell bombards Victorian politicians with selective misinformation.

As the Parliament of Victoria prepares to debate an assisted dying Bill, South Australian Catholic anti-assisted-dying lobbyist Mr Paul Russell is at it again. This time he's sent a missive to Victorian politicians shouting about, amongst other things, a crisis of assisted dying numbers in Washington state. He’s conveniently cherry-picked his arguments again.

Mr Russell wrote that in Washington state:

“deaths from lethal drugs prescribed under the Act have nearly quadrupled (376%) from 51 in 2010 to 192 in 2016.”

Keywords: Fearmonger | Filibuster | Fudge | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Paul Russell | Catholic | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Statistics

 

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Posted on Tuesday 19th September 2017 at 10:30pm

Three AMA-Victoria past Presidents fronted the Victorian Parliament and spread misinformation about assisted dying law reform.

As reported in The Age, on Tuesday this week three AMA doctors fronted the Victorian Parliament to spread the word about their perceived horrors of an assisted dying law. Their arguments don’t hold water and politicians should see them for what they are: utter nonsense.

Doctors Stephen Parnis, Mukesh Haikerwal and Mark Yates say they will continue to lobby politicians.

With what?

Here is the ‘substance’ of their arguments — a sticky blomonge of the same old confected and discredited claims.

The vulnerable will be at risk

Dr Parnis said that such a law “puts the most frail and vulnerable in our community — the dying — at profound risk,” pointing to coercion, and patients not getting the medical care they need.

Keywords: Fearmonger | Flapdoodle | Flip-flop | Fudge | Fiction | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | Victoria | Australian Medical Association (AMA) | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Thursday 14th September 2017 at 10:20pm

I expose the misinformation and incoherent arguments of the Catholic church recently published in Fairfax media.

It’s very disappointing that Catholic theologian Dr Joel Hodge’s recent editorial in Fairfax media about assisted dying law reform contained misinformation: the same old tired and discredited story trotted out as though it's true. Dr Hodge also repeated an old and curiously one-sided (Catholic) examination of the hypothetical slippery slope.

Unhappily, the kind of misinformation that Dr Hodge advances muddies the waters and cruelly stands in the way of legislative action, which most Australians want.


Keywords: Fearmonger | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Assisted dying (AD) | Australia | New South Wales | Victoria | Catholic | Legislative reform | Lobbying: Opponents | Rhetoric: Slippery slope | Rhetoric: The 'vulnerable'

 

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Posted on Wednesday 23rd August 2017 at 7:35pm

The Western Australia Parliament has established an inquiry - like Victoria's in 2015/6 - into end-of-life choices

After months of public remarks about end-of-life choices by the WA Premier Mark McGowan, the WA Parliament has just passed a resolution to establish a Joint Select Committee to investigate end-of-life choices for Western Australians.

Similar to the Victorian Parliamentary inquiry in 2015/16, the move is a strong step forward in assessing current practice and recommending improvements to both legislative and regulatory oversight of end-of-life for Australians in the west.

Keywords: Western Australia | Legislative reform

 

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Posted on Sunday 6th August 2017 at 3:36am

Victorian MP Mr Daniel Mulino's "carefully researched" minority report against assisted dying contains multiple serious errors and misinformation. He must withdraw it.

Last year, the Victorian Parliament's Legal and Social Issues Committee concluded an extensive investigation into end of life choices, publishing a report of over 400 pages recommending improvements to palliative care and for assisted dying. Catholic-backed Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (‘shoppies’ union) Labor member of the Victorian Parliament Mr Daniel Mulino furnished his own minority report, opposing the majority recommendation for assisted dying law reform. That’s entirely his right. However, his report contains multiple, serious cases of misinformation. He must withdraw his report.

Daniel Mulino, Labor parliamentary member for the Victorian Region of Eastern Victoria,1 and a member of the Catholic-backed ‘shoppies’ union,2 was a member of the Legal and Social Issues Committee that thoroughly investigated end of life decision making and produced a 400+ page report in 2016 making recommendations for law reform and regulation.

Keywords: Flapdoodle | Fudge | Fiction | Faith | Australia | Victoria | Paul Russell | Alex Schadenberg | Margaret Somerville | Religion | Catholic

 

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19th June 2016 09:03pm 0

Canadian Parliament passes assisted dying law

The Canadian Parliament has passed a law that allows the terminally ill to choose assisted dying in restricted circumstances.