December 11th 2010

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Articles from this issue:

PROSTITUTION: Sydney 'the Amsterdam of the South Pacific'

VICTORIAN STATE ELECTION: Labor defeated, Greens blunted


OPINION: Government strangling country people with red tape

EUTHANASIA III: A dying man pleads against legalising euthanasia

EUTHANASIA II: How SA's euthanasia bill was defeated

Political spin on climate (letter)

ENERGY: Good news! New oil and gas finds around the world

BOOK REVIEW: GOD'S BATTALIONS: The Case for the Crusades, by Rodney Stark

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION: Latest threat to Australian families and free speech

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Andrew Wilkie granted access to classified secrets

A party in love with death? (letter)

CULTURE AND CIVILISATION: On abortion, slavery and censorship

Kenyan or Keynesian? (letter)

EUTHANASIA I: Dirty tricks exposed in SA euthanasia push

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTEST: Protesters caused collision with Japanese whaler

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Politicians shirking their duty by bank-bashing

EDITORIAL: How long can the Gillard Government survive?

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Dirty tricks exposed in SA euthanasia push

by Damian Wyld

News Weekly, December 11, 2010
Greens MLC Mark Parnell's radical euthanasia bill has been defeated in South Australia's upper house of parliament. Defeated "on the voices". It didn't even reach committee stage.

It marks a win for the vulnerable in our community, but it has also exposed the dark side of the euthanasia lobby. The lead-up and aftermath of the final vote on November 24 have seen some extraordinary activity and accusations.

The National Civic Council and the Australian Family Association in SA worked solidly to defeat the bill, the campaign being spearheaded by HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia & Assisted Suicide. HOPE is directed by AFA member Paul Russell.

Immediately before the vote, Mr Russell received unsolicited calls and emails from someone calling himself Samuel Birbeck. These communiqu├ęs falsely implied that Mr Russell had engaged Birbeck to "rig" an online euthanasia poll. The last email, sent just hours before the vote, stated: "I will expect triple my previously agreed fee to rig these additional two polls."

A person by the name of Samuel Birbeck, aged 30 and from Adelaide, has been exposed in the media as being a serial online troublemaker. He is reportedly a member of an outfit called "Beandog Trolls" and has been accused by conservative US commentators of working for the Democrats in order to bait and entrap candidates for the conservative Tea Party movement (Sydney Morning Herald, October 11, 2010).

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Birbeck was also partly responsible for whipping up outrage over Queensland Family First Senate candidate Wendy Francis's criticisms of lesbianism on Twitter.

The morning after the vote, Mr Russell received another unsolicited email, this time from transsexual gynaecologist and euthanasia advocate Dr Rosemary Jones. Jones's email accompanied a string of correspondence.

First was an email from Paul Russell, encouraging supporters in the wake of victory to vote in a new AdelaideNow (Advertiser) poll. This email was picked up by a Mark Lawrence, a euthanasia advocate who had registered with HOPE for updates.

Lawrence then forwarded the email to unknown people with the following cover: "Friends, from what I hear, they (the Canadian based colation [sic], with teh [sic] NCC SA as its Ausralian [sic] base) are paying small amounts of PayPal money to US gamers to rig these polls all over the world, 24/7- how very principled. That's how they got a 75/25 result on Adelaide Now on Tuesday, and, given that it is so obvious, why Adelaide Now at one point on Tuesday evening actually reduced the number of aggregate votes recorded. Good old NCC. Mark."

As SA state president of the NCC, I was disappointed to learn that I take directions from offshore, though I was delighted to discover that I am part of a scheme to keep young American computer gamers gainfully employed.

Lawrence's email was, in turn, forwarded back to Paul Russell with a covering note from Dr Jones: "Dear Paul, VICTORY!? Is that what you dare to call it? What are you doing interfering in the affairs of another country in any case? Remind me to attend you on your deathbed. Dr Rosie Jones."

I doubt that Mr Russell will be seeking end-of-life care from a gynaecologist, especially one who seems confused about Mr Russell's nationality.

Even more telling, though, was the "who's who" list of people to whom Jones also copied the email. The list included Labor MP Stephanie Key, who has moved a bill in the lower house mirroring Parnell's; Victoria Pollifrone, administration officer for SA Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES) and staffer to Labor MP Frances Bedford; Professor John Willoughby of the Flinders Medical Centre and a SAVES patron; Labor MLCs Ian Hunter and Russell Wortley; Greens MLC Tammy Franks; former Democrats MLC Sandra Kanck; the self-styled "Christians Supporting Choice for Voluntary Euthanasia"; and, finally, none other than Samuel Birbeck.

And it gets better: Jones's email was also sent to Dr Philip Nitschke - this despite the fact that Dr Jones is an active supporter of SAVES, and SAVES states on its website and newsletter: "SAVES is not affiliated with Exit International/ Dr Philip Nitschke and opposes the public availability of a 'peaceful pill'."

Aside from false accusations against the NCC and its allies, a SAVES newsletter has revealed some interesting facts about its own activities. It states that SAVES:

• Spent $40,000 on this year's SA state election;

• Funded four Legislative Council candidates and a "Christian Group members mail-out";

• Received $21,000 from "sister" euthanasia groups for election campaigning.

Furthermore, "the initiative for SAVES finding and supporting VE candidates [for the SA state election] was provided by Greens MP Mark Parnell". What a coincidence.

The SAVES newsletter reveals its shallow view of life and death by publishing South Australian Denis McGill's poem, charmingly titled The Gift of Life and Death. It says, in part:

"Crippled in mind and body, he lies there,
His life now ended yet still he lives...
She, whose life now revolves around his daily needs.
She, who still has house and garden to care for...".

Probably only a small fragment of the dirty tricks to which some euthanasia supporters resort has come to light.

Considering the inordinate influence the euthanasia lobby has over politicians and the media, this matter deserves the most thorough investigation.

Damian Wyld is South Australian state president of the National Civic Council.


Ashler Moses, "Twittergate: Beandog trolls spoil conservative Tea Party", Sydney Morning Herald, October 11, 2010.

The VE Bulletin, newsletter of the South Australian Voluntary Euthanasia Society (SAVES), Inc., Vol. 27, No. 2, July 2010.

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