Saturday, 25 May 2013

'Protests' and 'Protestors'

I had this rant over at, but I'm going to have it here too. It's about the Tasmanian 'health' bill that will restrict any exercise of freedom of speech within a radius of 150 metres of any abortion facility.

Cat contributor 'lem' had this to say:

I have to say, as a health professional, that people standing outside health facilities abusing women going in to seek medical care that is perfectly legal, goes beyond freedom of speech into the realms of harassment, and should be condemned. After all, nobody is standing outside psych facilities abusing them when they check in for their meds…

Guess what, folks? Not one protest I have ever been on outside an abortion clinic has involved abuse, screaming, threats, and/or harrassment of clients or clinic staff or anyone else BY THE PROTESTORS.

We have, however:
  • been screamed at by people who don’t agree with us;
  • been the target of vile verbal abuse by passers-by who slow down their cars and deliver a dose out the window;
  • been threatened, abused and harrassed by some clinic clients;
  • had a car driven by an angry male partner of a female client up the kerb and over our displays;
  • been harrassed by clinic staff, even though every aspect of our silent and peaceful protest has police approval and permission;
  • had things thrown at us;
  • been photographed without our consent;
  • endured police arrival and inspection of the protest at the demand of clinic staff (but thankfully the police have always taken our side and told the staff we are there with permission and that we are not breaking the law in any way).

This is what you get for trying to exercise freedom of speech without even speaking.

This is what you get for trying to offer women – in often dire situations – some positive alternatives that will save them physical and mental harm and turn their lives around for the better.

So is it all a waste of time? Of course not. This legislation contains this clause precisely because silent, peaceful protests that offer information about alternatives – on signs and brochures that people can see or ignore as they choose – are WORKING.

We had the annual Rally for Life this year on the evening of 21 May, attended by nearly a thousand people outside Parliament House, and ignored by almost every mainstream media source in Perth. (See the photo? Look to the right of the large banner to see the small sign ‘Jesus Heals and Forgives’. That’s me holding that! But you can’t see me, as I am only 5 feet tall).

A representative from Pregnancy Assistance in Perth reported that their clientele had increased significantly in the past 12 months, which they believe is in response to a stepped-up silent presence outside just one or two abortion clinics in Perth.

Many women want alternatives to abortion, but are under so much stress and pressure – from parents, partners and employers – that they often don’t know where to start.

Sometimes the place they find the help they really need is at the eleventh hour, outside the clinic.

Women can and do turn around in the car park and walk away from abortion appointments, because the abortion is not what they really wanted after all.

Having alternatives available pretty much on-site actually helps a woman make a FREE CHOICE. Isn’t that what all this pro-choice thing is supposed to be about? You actually need alternatives if you’re going to make a choice.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Academics Are Good For You, Dammit

UPDATE: Speaking of oxygen thieves, John Pilger is back in town ...

Alecia Simmonds, 'Why Australia Hates Thinkers': [no, no link to Alecia today. Undeserving of the oxygen]

Ultimately, there is nothing elite about academics. Their wages are embarrassingly humble, they work ridiculously long hours and for most the aim is pretty noble – to create knowledge that will help make a better world.

Ladies and gents, this below is only one of many possible answers, but it's the one I'm going with today:

Skywhale - Just Perfect

Thank you, Tim Blair, for showing us just why Canberra's floating Skywhale is the perfect symbol of all that is best in Canberra ...

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Truth in Reporting

Congratulations to Perth's West Australian newspaper, Wednesday 15 May 2013, p 36, for stating the  obvious (on the Gosnell case):

How Now, Dan Brown

"Renowned author Dan Brown woke up in his luxurious four-poster bed in his expensive $10 million house – and immediately he felt angry. Most people would have thought that the 48-year-old man had no reason to be angry. After all, the famous writer had a new book coming out. But that was the problem. A new book meant an inevitable attack on the rich novelist by the wealthy wordsmith’s fiercest foes. The critics."

More at
(thank you Myles and Kitty)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Having a Wonderful Time!

Over at QED, is Julia delusional or just very stubborn?

And pace all Spongebob fans - I know you prefer his version of this Tiny Tim classic, so you can enjoy it here (sorry - you have to watch the whole episode, but the song is around 3.19)



Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Foreign Affairs?

Recently on there was an enthusiatic debate about Australia's overseas representation and the expectations placed on these services by naive tourists.

This morning, however, I read about this case:

A West Australian man is in jail in Saudi Arabia charged with terrorism-related offences.
His mother, who does not want to be named, told NITV – the indigenous channel of broadcaster SBS – that her son had been tortured while in jail. ''I want them to clear his name and I want them to send him home,'' she said.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman confirmed Mr Thorne was on trial for alleged terrorism-related offences and was detained in a prison outside the Saudi capital Riyadh.
''Consular officials have been providing consular assistance to the man since his arrest in November 2011,'' he said. ''Consular staff in Canberra are in regular contact with the man's family in Australia.''
Mr Thorne's younger brother Junaid is in hiding in Saudi Arabia, in fear for his life, having been stripped of his passport after spending two months in detention there without being charged.

And now here's the zinger:

The brothers have reportedly lived in Saudi Arabia for a decade.
On Thursday, The boys' mother, who doesn't want to be identified, said Australia hadn't done enough to get her sons home.

I find it very hard to work up any sympathy for anyone involved in this.