Category

Newsletters

CATHOLIC HOSPITALS REVOLT ON EUTHANASIA IN QUEENSLAND

By Australian Newsletter

Catholic hospitals will defy Queensland euthanasia laws that force them to allow doctors to administer end-of-life drugs in their facilities. Health provider Mater has issued a statement saying it would not accede to the laws signed off by a parliamentary committee and due to go to a vote later this month. “We will not tolerate non­credentialed doctors coming on site, nor will we assist in the provision of voluntary assisted dying (VAD) in any of our facilities,” said Francis Sullivan, chair of the Mater group. “There is a practical solution and it will work for all sides of this debate.” The proposed laws introduced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk would give individual health workers and institutions the right to opt out of the assisted dying scheme, except in cases when it would cause “unnecessary suffering” to transfer the patient to another facility.

Catholic facilities provide one in five hospital and aged-care beds in Queensland, and want the right to oppose VAD at their facilities, as is the case with South Australian laws.St Vincent’s Health Australia accepts the legislation is all but certain to pass but remains opposed. “Allowing unaccredited doctors to enter hospital rooms, with no notice or permission needed, to assist in a medical procedure to help a patient die is a radical and dangerous undermining of patient safety and should be rejected,” said chief executive Toby Hall. “It’s partly why the Queensland Australian Medical Association is so strongly against the lack of protection for faith-based hospital providers. Mr Hall said St Vincent’s had not run into “any issues” in the two years since euthanasia was legalised in Victoria because its legislation does not attempt to regulate institutional objection.

“It’s also about fairness. The Queensland government is forcing Catholic hospitals, against our values and beliefs, to open our facilities to assisted dying. That’s unsettling and shocking to us” Hall said. Deputy Premier Steven Miles said cases where VAD doctors would offer services at faith-run facilities would be “very rare”. “It is only where it would cause unnecessary suffering to transfer the patient to a provider where those services could be provided,” he said. Institutions that block people’s access to the assisted dying scheme would not be fined, but doctors and providers could be referred to the medical accreditation watchdog. “The law reform commission considered whether there should be penalties and determined there did not need to be,” Mr Miles said. “I expect all of our healthcare providers and aged-care providers will comply with the law.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

Print This Post Print This Post

 

EXPERTS CALL FOR FEDERAL INQUIRY TO PROTECT CHILDREN

By Australian Newsletter

Australian sociologist Geoff Holloway is the editor of a new publication about the transgender agenda in Australia. Doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists, psychologists, academics and parents have contributed to the publication. The publication calls for a federal inquiry into transgender practices in light of research and legal rulings in other countries. Holloway and others have listed 9 recommendations for the government to implement. The recommendations include making health related staff accountable for long-term consequences regarding their advice and treatment of young people, creating a more in-depth consultative process, recognising gender dysphoria as a health issue as opposed to an ideological issue related to ‘equality’, a more rigorous assessment of needs of minors and greater parental involvement and need for consent.

These experts are calling for a clearer legal distinction to be made between the biological reality of sex and the ideological position of gender. They also want a comprehensive, “scientific inquiry into the long-term consequences of gender transitioning through medical interventions”. Kirralie Smith, Binary spokeswoman, supports the call for an inquiry. “In light of the UK’s High Court decision that children under the age of 16 are not competent to make transitioning decisions, and due to the lack of rigorous evidenced-based studies, a federal inquiry is a necessity,” she said. “It is never acceptable to experiment on children. There is simply not enough data or research into the long-term effects of transitioning treatments on young people. Protecting children must be paramount for the government, rather than appeasing radical gender extremists.”

Source: Binary

Print This Post Print This Post

 

 

RELIGIOUS BELIEF DESERVES PROTECTION

By Australian Newsletter

The following article was written jointly by Vanessa Cheng, executive officer of Australian Association of Christian Schools, and Mark Spencer, director of public policy, Christian Schools Australia.

Steph Lentz, the former teacher at Covenant Christian School, is in many ways to be commended. “I knew my contract required me to inform the school if I changed my mind about a point of religious doctrine”, so she went and had a conversation with the Christian school where she worked. So, the question remains: is it reasonable for Christian schools to employ staff who share their beliefs? We believe it is. For our schools to provide an authentic Christian education they must be able to employ staff who share in the stated beliefs of the school. We know there are different views about a range of matters within the Christian faith and our schools are transparent about what they believe. It is clearly outlined as a condition of employment and staff sign their agreement with the school’s Statement of Belief when they are employed.

We accept that people have the freedom to change their interpretation of what the Bible teaches around many things, including sexuality and marriage. We know there are different views about a range of matters within the Christian faith. But we do not believe that an individual teacher should expect to impose their changed beliefs about an important theological matter onto a Christian school that has been entirely consistent about their beliefs from the start. In saying this, we acknowledge there is much pain and broken relationships when making these tough decisions. Our schools want to care for and support people with humility and love. It is our deep hope that people can find a community where they feel supported in their commonly held beliefs.

The school holds to the orthodox Biblical belief that sexual activity outside marriage between a man and woman is not acceptable conduct for a Christian teacher. Steph changed her mind about this and could no longer agree with that belief. That difference in opinion proved irreconcilable so Steph and the school parted ways. She is now teaching in another school where her doctrines and beliefs align with those of the schools. Her experience was not easy, but it was honourable, and exactly what you would expect where there is such a contradictory position between an employer and employee. The school didn’t try to force Steph to change her beliefs or to act in a way that was inconsistent with her beliefs. They took great care to act with kindness and integrity. As Steph herself has stated, the outcome of this difference in belief was not a surprise.

Unfortunately, this is not an outcome that activists like Equality Australia, who backed Steph’s story, can accept. Nor is there attention given to the deeper issues of how to deal with fundamentally different views and beliefs between people, where these cannot be reconciled. They want beliefs that they find acceptable forced on Christian schools; they want our schools to change to conform to those of staff they support, never mind what other staff or parents who founded and supported the school over many years may hold to be true. Or indeed the stated, historical doctrinal basis of the institution. Education is far more than merely the transmission of curriculum content. Research has shown that the community and relationships built around shared beliefs is a vital part of the educational process.

It truly does “take a village to raise a child” and all staff in Christian schools have a vital role to play in that process, and need to share a common set of beliefs. The Australian Association of Christian Schools and Christian Schools Australia, the peak bodies for Christian schools, look forward to the Morrison government following through on its election commitment to introduce a religious discrimination bill that will affirm that it is lawful for Christian schools to continue providing authentic faith-based education by employing staff who support and model the beliefs of the school. We also look forward to the opposition’s support for such a Bill, reflecting their National Platform which recognises the need to protect religious freedom.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

Print This Post Print This Post

VICTORIA TO DECRIMINALISE SEX WORK

By Australian Newsletter

Following a recommendation from Fiona Patten, former Sex Party, now Reason Party MP, the Andrews Government has announced they will move to decriminalise sex work.  This will open the way for street prostitution and remove existing barriers to pimps and traffickers. Australian Christian Lobby’s (ACL) Victorian Coordinator, Jasmine Yuen said, “This is a backward step for the women, primarily, but also men, who have turned to prostitution because of poverty, homelessness and isolation. If women really choose prostitution, as the pro-prostitution lobby claims, why is it mostly disadvantaged and marginalised women who do?” A 2004 Childwise study with young people under the age of 23 showed that 80% of young women involved in sex work had a history of child abuse.

Every jurisdiction around the world where commercial sex has been decriminalised, including NSW, has experienced a surge in human trafficking, pimping, and other related criminal activity. Referring to NSW’s decriminalised model of prostitution legislation, the head of NSW’s Police Sex Crimes Squad said in 2017, “Exploited overseas workers are slipping through the cracks because there is now no way to identify, or stop, underground brothels.” This statement is a stark warning for Victorian MPs. Jasmine Yuen continued, “Victoria must learn from NSW’s failed decriminalisation model. Their councils are now powerless to prevent illegal parlours opening anywhere, including near schools, learning centres and residential areas.”

ACL supports the Nordic model of prostitution legislation which has been adopted by Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Canada, Northern Ireland, France, Ireland, and Israel, and is being acknowledged globally as the Human Rights model. Such legislation would criminalise the purchase of sex and provide exit strategies for those caught in prostitution. We call on the Andrews Government to investigate this model over the coming months before finalising their draft legislation. The alternative is an increase in prostitution, sex trafficking, and the exploitation of the most vulnerable.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

Print This Post Print This Post

 

 

YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS A SHADOW PANDEMIC

By Australian Newsletter

Eight teenage girls have committed suicide in the first 7 months of this year in Victoria, a marked increase in the number of young women taking their lives in a tragic toll being closely watched by the Victorian Coroners Court. The alarming rise has been recorded by the court amid a deepening youth mental health crisis that expert professor Patrick McGorry has described as a “shadow pandemic”. New court data reveals 8 girls committed suicide to July 31, up from just one in the first 7 months of last year. In the same period in 2019, Coroner’s Court statistics show three teenage girls took their own lives while the number was four in 2018 and three in 2017. “The court has noted a potentially higher than expected number of suspected suicides among women under 18 this year,” a court spokeswoman said.

“While it is too early to determine whether this represents a trend, the court is continuing to monitor closely.” The rise in suicides comes as the state is gripped by a teen mental health crisis that experts are linking to Covid-19 and lockdowns. Teenage girls are among the hardest hit with increasing eating disorders, self-harm and suicidal thoughts or actions during the 18-month pandemic. Professor McGorry, who heads youth mental health service Orygen, said problems suffered by young Victorians had grown worse and health services were overwhelmed. “The system is drowning or crumbling,” he said. “This is the shadow pandemic. And every lockdown makes it even worse.

“It’s not that the government hasn’t recognised the problem, it’s that they don’t have the same sense of urgency, federal or state, about addressing it like they do with Covid.” Professor McGorry described this year’s eight suicides as a “real phenomenon” and said they needed to be considered in the broader context of the pandemic and lockdowns. “There is an increase in deaths and that is occurring from a rising base of suicidal behaviour particularly among young women,” he said. “There has been a very substantial surge, 20 to 30 per cent of deliberate self-harm and suicidal behaviour that is occurring in particularly young women and that is what is flooding into emergency departments. “The coroner is cautious about over-reacting. You have to put the number of suicides in context of the rising tide of suicidal behaviour amongst young women.” Girls have been hit during the pandemic as they battle eating disorders.

There was a sharp increase in new eating disorder cases early this year, from a weekly average of 654 in 2020 to 878 this year, a 34% jump. The number of teenagers rushed to hospital after self-harming and suicidal thoughts spiked 51%, rising from a weekly average of 98 in 2020 to 148 this year. The most serious cases, where teenagers have needed resuscitation and emergency care, jumped 44.9%, with the 2020 weekly average of 19.8 rising to 28.7 this year. Victorian Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick said he was concerned the Andrews government did not understand how lockdowns affected the mental health of young people. “They have been saying they have been spending huge amounts of money on mental health, and yet children who need help can’t get access to it,” he said.

Limbrick went on “The mental and physical health effects of lockdowns on children are catastrophic. They are becoming socially isolated.” Mr Limbrick said schools should be immediately opened, and the government should set a date when all pandemic restrictions end. Resilience speaker Graeme Cowan has spoken about his 5 year battle with depression, and the habits he has cultivated to look after his mental health amid uncertainty. The Victorian government acknowledged the emotional toll of lockdowns. “We know how tough repeated lockdowns are on all Victorians, and that the emotional, social and financial toll of the pandemic is profound for so many people, but we just can’t risk the devastation of an uncontrolled outbreak of the Delta variant spreading rapidly across the state,” a spokeswoman said.

The government said it had invested more than $225m to help boost mental health services during the pandemic, and also referred to its $3.8bn delivered in this year’s state budget to implement the findings of the mental health royal commission. A spokeswoman for youth mental health organisation Headspace said their national online and phone counselling service noted a spike in demand “associated with strict lockdown periods both in Victoria and in other states experiencing heavier restrictions, such as Greater Sydney and NSW”. The government did not respond to questions about the eight suicides, pointing to broader court data that showed overall suicide numbers in 2020 were in line with those in 2019.

A senior child psychiatrist said the rise in teenage girls committing suicide reflected health department data confirming a mental health crisis. “There has been a sustained increase in referrals and presentations of young people with self-harm and severe emotional distress,” the expert said. “The data shows this demand has persisted independent of whether the state has been in lockdown or not. “One might hope there could be as much attention paid by the press and the government to suicides, and the monthly reports on children’s mental health presentations as there is on Covid cases and hospitalisations each day. “ But we in the field are no longer holding our breath. “The continuing injury, fear and despair will continue to take their toll, long after the active trauma of restrictions ever ends.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

Print This Post Print This Post