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Wednesday, 10 April 2019 21:05

High Court upholds abortion buffer zone laws

In an important decision on free speech issues, the High Court of Australia, in its decision in Clubb v Edwards; Preston v Avery [2019] HCA 11 (10 April 2019), has upheld the validity of laws in Victoria and Tasmania prohibiting communication about abortion within 150m of an abortion clinic. The decision may have serious implications for free speech about other issues on which religious believers have deep-seated convictions contrary to the general orthodoxy of modern Australian society.

Published in Abortion
Thursday, 06 December 2018 09:13

The Exclusion Zone contagion is spreading

Queensland

Exclusion-zones went into force yesterday in Queensland, along with the state's new act that moved abortion into the health code. Queensland is the fourth Australian state to enact the zones - this includes New South Wales, where abortion is still technically illegal; both territories also have the so-called 'Safe-Access' zones. Pro-lifers who wish to pray outside abortion mills and offer help to the women entering them will now have to stand 150m away from the entrance or risk huge fines and potential incarceration.

Published in Abortion
Friday, 12 October 2018 01:51

High Court Challenge Media Release

My constitutional challenge to Victoria's abortuary exclusion-zones was heard in the Australian High Court from October 9-11, 2018. Graham Preston's challenge to Tasmanian exclusion-zones was heard alongside mine. Please click here to learn more about exclusion-zones. Please click here to follow the progress of this case of the High Court of Australia website.  

Published in Freedom of Speech
Wednesday, 18 July 2018 22:32

Exclusion-zones: High Court Submission

John Young has summarised the submission made by my legal team to the High Court of Australia, which we propose will show that abortion-facility exclusion zones are unconstitutional. The entire document is 24 pages long and can be read here on the High Court website, along with submissions from the Attorneys-General of the states and territories, and the Commonwealth Attorney-General - all of whom oppose us. American readers may be interested to note that SCOTUS and the Massachusetts bubble-zone case are mentioned in our submission on page 12. Careful readers will see that, on the day of my arrest, twenty police officers were briefed regarding my life advocacy within the exclusion zone. Twenty.

Published in Freedom of Speech

[Note: This article was updated to include a more informative screenshot from Emma Husar's Facebook page.] In the wake of the passing of another  'Safe-Access' zones bill,  a NSW MP has sanctioned the idea that violence against life advocates is acceptable. Emma Husar, Labor's member for Lindsay, made the comment in a thread on her public Facebook page. Husar - or an aide who runs her Facebook account - allowed this comment on her page: "...Anyone who gets in their faces to make a point needs a high five in the face with a brick. It's a horrible, s***** thing to do. Leave these women alone," to which Husar replied, "Agree." If Husar was referring to the end of the comment - that sidewalk advocacy is a 's*****  thing to do', then this should have been made clear. She's wrong, of course - sidewalk advocacy is a loving thing to do. It's the last hope for women who are ambivalent about their abortion, and who feel they have no choice but to go through with one. To publicly agree to a comment suggesting violence is very irresponsible for anyone - but especially for a member of parliament, in a conversation about a highly emotional topic. Members of the pro-life community are no strangers to false accusations, violent threats and even actual violence being perpetrated against them. It is only a few years ago that an elderly man was violently attacked outside an abortion facility in Albury, NSW. Yet, during the debate, parliamentarians continued the false narrative that pro-lifers engage in bullying tactics to 'shame women' and 'shove their ideas onto others.'

Conservative MPs Fail Mothers and Babies

New South Wales voted last week to join Tasmania, Victoria, the Northern Territory and the ACT in setting up, what is in effect, a censorship law designed to stop pro-lifers from offering help to vulnerable women. This outcome was particularly disappointing for conservative voters who have long held confidence in the Nationals to maintain Christian values. National MP Trevor Kahn betrayed his conservative, pro-life base to co-sponsor the bill with the rabidly pro-abortion Penny Sharpe. Many Liberal MPs, also ostensibly conservative voted in favour of the bill. NSW Premer, Gladys Berejiklian, who had previously described the law as 'flawed', gave her party a conscience vote - this was denied to the Labor Party - but voted in favour of the bill. All 19 amendments to the bill were rejected. The final vote was 61 to 18. and the MPs who stood for life - a counter-cultural stance in Australia's contemporary climate - were like a shining light in that dark, dim place. The pro-life speeches were very good, with Minister for Women, Tanya Davies, defending sidewalk advocacy and reaffirming the fact that pro-lifers are in no way confrontational or intimidating. Liberal MP Dominic Perrottet, gave a particularly good speech which can be found in full at his website:

  .... It is fundamentally a crude attempt to sanitise our public places To silence those who refuse to turn a blind eye to the value of both mother and child. And to remove from our public spaces any trace of the witness that is a daily reminder of the dignity of every human life. Speaker, it is no surprise the collectivists opposite have a binding party position on this issue. Their ideology is rooted in the very idea of trampling freedom, denying agency and erasing individual rights in favour of the state. What a damning indictment it is that a party which cannot even offer its own members internal freedom is now in the business of denying the freedoms to others.

David and Goliath

The High Court challenge to exclusion-zones, which is already underway, initially involved the Attorneys-General of both Tasmania and Victoria, since the law was violated by the appellants in both of those states. Both cases are being heard together since the law is very similar in these states, as distinct from the bubble-zone law in the ACT, which has its own features. [See more about a recent ACT case here.] However, a more recent development is the intervention from the Attorneys-General of other Australian states: New South Wales, Queensland, WA and SA as well as the Attorney-General of the Commonwealth have all made submissions to the High Court regarding our case. [Progress of the submissions can be followed here.] Michael Quinlan, dean of Sydney's Notre Dame University, explains that states without exclusion-zones won't be able to automatically introduce them if the High Court challenge is unsuccessful and that states with similar legislation would have to remove existing exclusion-zones - and redraft them -  if the challenge is successful:

Various State AGs getting involved in the Clubb/Preston case is disappointing but it’s not unusual. In constitutional cases, states have a right to appear in the High Court. The state may see this case as a state’s rights issue. If the High Court finds the legislation unconstitutional it probably impacts on other state laws; it stops a state from choosing to pass laws which restrict free speech and probably not just around clinics. If Clubb and Preston lose, a state without exclusion zones would need to prepare and pass a bill in the usual way. If the present Tasmanian or Victorian legislation is read down, such a state will have details about how to draft a constitutional bill, which will be in the written judgment in the way it reads down the existing laws.

Life Advocacy Has a Long History of Success

Exclusion-zone laws protect abortion businesses and allow them to continue to slaughter the innocent while traumatising women and men for life. The laws have been introduced despite the embarrassingly meagre evidence of harassment and intimidation which is alleged to have been perpetrated by the pro-life community. And it is also despite the overwhelming evidence to support the effectiveness of pro-life outreach. Abortion advocates consistently disregard this evidence. Living, breathing babies, children (and now some adults) are the proof! These are the children whose mothers accepted help outside Australian abortion facilities. This can only happen when life advocates are allowed to peacefully witness, pray and offer help to these women in their time of need. The process is underway to gather totals from around Australia, but some of the numbers already available are:

  • 600 women helped, and babies saved in Sydney;
  • 20 mothers helped and babies saved at Croydon, Victoria,
  • 300 mothers helped and babies saved at East Melbourne.
  • 24 mothers helped and babies saved at Albury, NSW.

  The pictures below say a thousand words about life advocacy: [from left] Paul Hanrahan with one of the Sydney babies; Kathy with one of the Croydon babies; Anna von Marburg with one of the Albury babies. But, due to the climate of hostility against the pro-life community, due to misrepresentation and outright lies, these numbers will dwindle. And politicians like Emma Husar, not content with condoning Australia's worst human rights abuse, simply highlight the truth about the abortion industry's violent secrets. 

Published in Freedom of Speech

What do abortionists talk about when they get together? Well, judging by the lengths some abortion providers go to - they don't want the public to know about it. But the 2017 Children by Choice conference was recently held in Brisbane, and we can get some idea of what goes on behind the scenes by looking at their conference schedule and speaker list. Children by Choice is a Queensland abortion business that is notorious for offering finance to disadvantaged mothers so that they won't miss out on the essential 'reproductive care' enjoyed by their wealthier counterparts. So, if you can't afford a baby and can't afford to have it killed, Children by Choice will loan you the money for an abortion. [It's not known if they also loan money to women who want to keep their babies. Presumably not.]

Published in Right to Life
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 10:50

A Letter from Jail

Today I received a letter from an inmate of a Queensland jail. I have never met this man in person but it is probably the fourth or fifth time that he, Michael, has written to me during the last eight years that he has been in prison. Michael first initiated contact when he read a newspaper article about me being in prison. (I was “inside” for engaging in non-violent sit-ins in front of the doors of abortion clinics.) Although each of us ended up in jail by way of very different routes we do share a common concern – we both believe that the deliberate taking of the life of a child in the womb is terribly wrong. Unlike many, probably the large majority of pro-lifers, Michael does not profess to hold any Christian or religious beliefs - not that he is antagonistic to those who do oppose abortion based on Christian convictions. Rather, in his own words, he is motivated to oppose abortion because, “my memory of the time before my birth is something very, very strong and I recognise it has happened for a reason,” and, “It is not due to ‘conviction’ that I oppose abortion-on-demand, it is love.”

Published in Right to Life
Wednesday, 31 August 2016 10:36

Are We Free to Disagree?

Another week, another encroachment on our freedoms - that's how it feels in Australia these days. The latest outrage is that there appears to be some doubt as to whether or not a plebiscite to decide the marriage issue will be supported in the Senate, or if we citizens will be deemed too ignorant to vote on it, and be made to leave the decision to our parliamentarians. 'Marriage Equality' Ammunition I was fortunate to be able to see Brendan O'Neill speak in Melbourne last week. For those of you who haven't heard of Brendan, he is an online journalist with Spiked Online, and an atheist libertarian. Brendan gave his Christian audience some fresh insights into the marriage debate and proved, yet again, that this isn't a religious issue, but a natural law (and common-sense) one. Brendan has been ostracised and publicly vilified for his stance on marriage, simply because he doesn't agree with the fashionable ideology of marriage redefinition.

Published in Freedom of Speech
Wednesday, 10 August 2016 06:38

Let's You and Him Fight

There is a ‘game’ played by dysfunctional people and described by psychiatrist Dr Eric Berne in his capital little book, “The Games People Play”. People often disagree with one another. A protagonist with an ax to grind and a lack of moral, civil or mental sufficiency, sets her or his victim up against external overwhelming forces. They may disagree with the victim and have no cogent or legitimate argument so they call in the police with their ‘authority’ and a gun on their hips, and the Courts that have the full panoply of process and procedure, backed by Laws made by the complainant’s friends. The Laws, the legislators, the police become complicit in gross acts of indecency and bring that Law and authority and panoply into disrespect when they do not punish such dysfunctional protagonists. And they are complicit.

Published in Freedom of Speech