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Take heed Mr Guy

With the announcement by the Andrew’s government that physician assisted dying legislation will be introduced into the Victorian Parliament in 2017 Matthew Guy has expressed his intention to vote against the proposed laws, saying it is not for politicians to involve themselves in the end-of-life discussions between a person and their family.

(Here is where I shake my head in despair, and take a deep breath… )

Dear Matthew Guy,

Don’t you realise that by voting against physician assisted dying you are involving yourself in the end-of-life discussions between a person and their family?

And you are inserting not just your own personal views but the power of the state.

Your opposition means you support the ongoing threat of the state charging a terminally ill person with obtaining the drug with which they could painlessly end their life.

Your opposition means you support the ongoing threat of the state charging people, often family members, for assisting a death.

How can you as a politician justify inserting yourself and the state in these end-of-life discussions?

By your supposed logic shouldn’t you be getting out of the way? You do that by allowing, not denying, Victorians the option of a physician assisted death.

By reversing your position you can help prevent pain and suffering.

Your opposition means that because of the limitations of palliative care some Victorians will continue to suffer excruciating deaths through dehydration or starvation.

And your opposition will mean some people will continue take their own lives in violent and distressing ways, as detailed in the Coroner’s report which I hope you’ve read.

You don’t really want Victorians one to continue to die in these ways, do you?

I urge you to meet with Fiona Patten who initiated the End of Life Choices inquiry, who sat on the Legal and Social Issues committee hearing evidence and accepting submissions from experts, and who visited jurisdictions overseas where assisted dying is working well with safeguards in place. You could learn a lot.

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Oh and Mr Guy, you also stated on December 8th 2016 that the assisted dying debate was a “distraction.”

Take heed Mr Guy. The Victorians facing their own death or watching loved ones die don’t consider the debate to be a distraction and they will remember your insensitive and callous words.

Undeterred

There is too little time and space, and insufficient words, for me to be able to express to my loved ones how much they mean to me.

But I’ll keep trying… undeterred.

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St Vincent’s Health – Nanny State and Religious Beliefs

When St Vincent’s Health lectures Australia on alcohol use, alcohol advertising and lockout laws in one of the biggest nanny state pushes in our history, remember they fail to provide reproductive health care in their public hospitals.

Taxpayers provide this Catholic Church institution hundreds of millions of dollars every year to provide care in public hospitals, but women can’t fill their birth control scripts, women cannot have their tubes tied, and women cannot receive a pregnancy termination, in a publicly funded hospital.

Patients often don’t have a choice as to which public hospital they attend, more so in an emergency.

St Vincent’s Health operates four public hospitals, including two of the largest in Melbourne and Sydney.

St Vincent’s Health should not be able deny heath care to the members of the public in a public hospital funded by the public, on the basis of their religious beliefs.

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World’s Oldest Moralising comes to Melbourne

This weekend the “World’s Oldest Oppression” conference will be held in Melbourne bringing together conservatives and RadFems to stigmatise sex work and sex workers.

Julie Bindel, Rachel Moran, Dr Caroline Norma, Melinda Tankard Reist and others will be hosted by RMIT on April 9-10 at the Emily McPherson Building,

They’re a small but influential group that purport to save women from sex work yet they propagate the stigma and shame that harms and kills sex workers. They promote the harmful Swedish Model of criminalisation that got such a bad reputation they had to rebrand it as the Nordic Model. They are to sex work as the Australian Christian Lobby is to marriage equality. Totally and ideologically opposed without care for the harm their words and policies have on the lives of others.

In their campaigning they purport to care about survivors, women (and only women) who regret their experiences of sex work. Undoubtedly there are people who regret sex work. It’s not for everyone, but should their experiences be the basis of legislation for all?

There are women who regret their abortions. The anti-abortion lobby loves to spread stories of abortion regret. It feeds their desire to ban abortion everywhere. However most adults recognise abortion is not for everyone and while there are people who regret their abortion experience we don’t legislate abortion based solely on those experiences.

If you use a survivor’s regret to campaign the abolition of sex work in the same way others use abortion regret to campaign the abolition of abortion, you’re anti-choice, anti-autonomy, and in my opinion you’re not a feminist.

The Emily McPherson Building on Russell Street is diagonally opposite Trades Hall where on December 17 last year the Australian Sex Party’s Fiona Patten was joined by Victoria’s Equality Minister Martin Foley, Inner South Community Health CEO Damien Ferrie and sex worker Jane Green at Trades Hall to launch the campaign to Decriminalise Sex Work in Victoria.

Currently sex work in Victoria is regulated by the Sex Work Act 1994 and Sex Work Regulations 2006. It’s created a two tiered system where sex workers face barriers to reporting violence and are subject to discrimination.

Decriminalisation is the legal framework that sex workers and sex worker community-based groups recommend. It has demonstrated benefits in health outcomes with lower transmission rates of STIs, and lessens the opportunities for corruption. It has worked in New South Wales and it is acknowledged as best practice by the UN, the WHO and Amnesty International.

Sex workers have voices and they are using them. They are speaking against those who presume to use the experiences of survivors to endanger their lives. They are campaigning against the Swedish Model and in favour of decriminalisation.

This weekend be an ally.
Follow @VixenCollective and the hashtags #sexwork and #RMIT2016 on Twitter for updates
Listen to sex workers, support sex workers and help us save lives.

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When the words come… scattered

The days when words don’t come easily are growing in number.

I find myself unable to express myself far too often, whether in the public sphere arguing for the rights of others or in private as I try to express my affection.

This scares me.

Sometimes my mind is jumbled and I struggle for clarity, and other times my mind is a void where no words are to be found.

Should I blame this on age, on my advancing middle age? Should I blame this on the increasingly complicated demands of modern life? Should I accept my limitations and realise that despite years of feeling above average, I am just average?

Or should I be kind to myself and let the words come to me when they come to me?

I began this mental amble intending a poem, a reflection of sorts. It has no purpose but to allow my mind to wander. This amble has become a ramble and perhaps I should end it now.

Until next time, when the words come.

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And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you

For sale to the gullible

Since the 2013 Federal Election a number of people in the political establishment have been claiming that minor parties have been gaming the system to get elected.

However the evidence simply does not support this claim. Read more…

Prague Astronomical Clock Google Doodle

Google Doodle Prague ClockToday’s Google Doodle is another delight, celebrating the 605th Anniversary of Prague’s famous astronomical clock.
It brings back memories of my Prague visit, as I’m sure it does for many others.