September 21st 2019

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Federal Government should abolish Renewable Energy Certificates

ENERGY BP annual Review shows consumption, production up

CANBERRA OBSERVED NSW Labor caught in Panda's paws doing 'whatever it takes'

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM Religious discrimination bill: A litany of questions

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Boris' brinkmanship shakes up Britain, EU

WATER POLICY Angry farmers protest over Murray-Darling Basin Plan ... again

TECHNOLOGY Are we the dumbest devices in the room?

HISTORY AND POLITICS Lord Acton, nationalism and multiculturalism, Part 2

LITERATURE D.H. Lawrence: The Modernist in exile

MUSIC Dialectical transcendence

CINEMA The Farewell: Elegant and bittersweet

BOOK REVIEW Owning up to market imperfections

BOOK REVIEW Heroism and faith under tyranny

BOOK REVIEW The love that comes after love is gone


EDITORIAL Gladys Liu controversy ignores reality of China's interference

Books promotion page


News Weekly, September 21, 2019

Reasonable doubt

I have no involvement in the legal profession; I am simply a concerned resident of Victoria. And the trial and subsequent appeal of Cardinal George Pell have caused me to have severe misgivings about the legal system in Victoria and the consequent affect on our society’s freedom.

If “proof beyond reasonable doubt” is not applied in criminal trials, it is not true to say that we live in a free society. It is an essential element of our liberty.

Only the most basic familiarity with human nature is needed to know that one person’s word without corroborating evidence does not constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt. It would be absurd to propose otherwise. Yet George Pell has been convicted on this very basis, leading to the conclusion that the principle of proof beyond reasonable doubt, as any member of the public would understand it, is absent in this case.

This does not appear to have been the result of incompetence or lack of integrity in jurors or judges. They are operating in a legal system where it is apparently acceptable that one person’s word can constitute proof of a crime. Therein lies the problem.

This case has been decided by determining if the accuser was speaking the truth, based on his testimony alone. There is no doubt that an experienced judge will have as good an ability as anyone to ascertain whether an accuser is speaking truthfully. However, their ability is still sufficiently limited such that, if it is to be the sole basis on which guilt or innocence is determined, it would be no greater injustice to the accused –and to save the public purse a large sum –to flip a coin to determine a conviction.

The predicament of an accused person under this regime is compounded when the only evidence against him is allowed to be inconsistent on the basis that this is common in cases of child sex crimes.

Supporting the principles of liberty is easy when there is no cost to doing so. It is when there is a cost that our support is tested. That some historic sex offenders will walk free if the principle of proof beyond reasonable doubt is properly applied is most definitely a serious cost, yet it is the lesser of two evils.

Our hands are not tied in being able to protect children. The much greater level of awareness of these crimes and their terrible effects on victims is a great protection in itself. Institutional settings are now far safer for children (domestic settings, alas, may be a different matter). If these crimes do occur, in today’s environment it is likely that they will be reported much sooner, thus making corroborating evidence easier to obtain.

In a society that has been genuinely hurt by institutional child sex abuse, what I’m saying is not what a lot of people want to hear. Hear it we must. We cannot have a legal system where one person’s word is all that is required to ruin someone’s reputation and put them in prison. The damage done by historic abuse is only compounded if it acts as a catalyst for jettisoning our liberty. The principle of proof beyond reasonable doubt must be restored.

Michael White,


WA assisted dying bill

The Democratic Labour Party strongly condemns the proposed legislation on so-called “assisted dying”. DLP policy supports life from conception to natural death.

The DLP believes that governments do not provide enough funding for effective palliative care for people whose medical condition cannot be cured; it further believes that if the bill currently before the house is passed, legislation will be widened to allow for decisions on end-of-life care to be influenced by financial considerations, thus putting pressure on the people who will make decisions on the care and the length of that care which a person receives.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan is to be condemned for the manner in which he has introduced this subject and the way in which he has advanced it. He appointed as chairman of his Ministerial Expert Panel a man who has been a public advocate of assisted dying by whatever name. This person, although eminent in many areas, is nonetheless a person with a clear position and emotional involvement in this matter. Most of the panel members are advocates of the proposed legislation, with the notable exception of Nick Goiran MLC.

Further, Mr McGowan, in an interview aired on Channel 7, boasted that his proposed bill went further than the recommendations of the expert panel and even further than the Victorian legislation! An instance of this is that the panel recommended that assisted dying could only be advanced when the person requesting it had made three requests, one of them in writing; doctors could not raise the subject with their patients.

Yet, Mr McGowan has allowed that the matter can be raised by the doctor; this changes the legislation and allows for influence and even pressure by a doctor in advocating assisted dying.

Mr McGowan, the media and many “celebrities” have been allowed to use emotion and terms such as “compassion”, “right to die” and “dignity” to influence public opinion, and consistently quote “80 per cent of people are in favour of the legislation”. This is a well-known left-wing strategy and should be viewed with scepticism.

The public need to be aware that they are being manipulated, and make their voices heard. This is not legislation born of compassion or even need; it is a long-term agenda in which compassion has no place.

R.A. Lorrimar (Mrs),
WA State Secretary,
Democratic Labour Party


Hard facts

A mere 0.04 per cent (0.0391 per cent to be accurate, according to Bill Muehlenberg’s blog) of the earth’s atmosphere is carbon dioxide. It is a natural trace gas in our atmosphere. But only 3 per cent of this is contributed globally from human activity. Australia’s contribution equals 0.0000156 per cent.

We are supposed to bow down to the UN elites and others as we radically harm our economy. Even though Australia would contribute zip to “saving the planet”.

Ninety-seven per cent of carbon diox-ide is produced naturally by natural cycles: algae, water, photosynthesis; volcanic eruptions. Climate models do not factor in the sun, clouds, cosmic rays, solar flares, sun spots etc. The “greenhouse effect” (water vapour mainly, clouds) is what makes the earth habitable.

Jennifer Parfenovics,
Edmonton, Qld.


Transgenders in sport

If people think that allowing transgender players in women’s sports is controversial now, consider the increase in children becoming transgender these days and the long-term effects this will have as more and more enter women’s sport. Over time this will make it impossible for biological females to win at many sports. So, whose dreams are being crushed here? Those of biological women.

The inclusion of biologically male trans-women in women’s sports makes a mockery of the whole point of having women’s sports in the first place. Transgender inclusion is excluding many women from having a fair chance at winning at an elite level. It ignores the real biological differences between males and females, which is why women’s sports exist.

This is a conflict of rights, the rights of a very small minority over the rights of women athletes. Should a very small minority be allowed to disrupt women’s sports?

Allowing transgender people in women’s sports is the performance equivalent of allowing drug cheats to participate too. The reason we don’t allow performance-enhancing drugs is that it gives an unfair advantage. The biology of males gives an unfair advantage too, in many sports. This clear disadvantage to the other players should be examined. The rights of biological women are important too, aren’t they?

Transgenderism runs parallel to transhumanism: both seek to remake the human form; both promote the use of drugs and surgery to change the human body. While people do have a certain right to alter their own body as they see fit, can they then insist that they have a right to go beyond what’s fair in sports?

In the future we will likely be having the same debate about allowing genetically engineered superhumans in sports, and cyborgs. These are very pertinent comparisons in an age of genetically modified babies and cyborg rights cases, which are already a reality.

In the near future we may have men’s sports, women’s sports, and transgender sports, as separate areas of competition, for the same reason we have the Paralympics as a separate event to the ordinary Olympics because of the real physical differences that give able-bodied people an advantage.

Daniel Peckham,
Tamworth, NSW

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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