“Free speech is dead in Australia.”

That quote is from the press release put out by Dr Philip Nitschke and Dr Fiona Stewart regarding the banning of their book, “The Peaceful Pill Handbook”, by the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification. The release also states:

“Ten years ago the Australian government took away the world’s first Voluntary Euthanasia law. Last year they banned Australians from using the telephone, fax, email and Internet to seek information about end of life issues. Now they have taken to banning and burning books.”

Peaceful Pill Handbook

And today police arrested and charged with murder a 74-year-old and a 58-year-old in Sydney relating to the death of a 71-year-old man (the husband of the 58 year old) who died from a drug overdose. They couple were refused bail.

(via Club Troppo)

When I start my political party (The Terra Party), one of the platforms will be free speech. It drives me insane that a country like Australia just sits by while our Government (that I voted for, several times) takes away one of the most basic of human rights. Can I even get arrested for just mentioning the book? Who knows?

I’m going to create a technorati tag for this issue and see how many people we get to throw in their support. Just write a blog post about “The Peaceful Pill Handbook” and tag it:

Technorati Tags:

23 thoughts on ““Free speech is dead in Australia.”

  1. Is your issue Free speech or that the Government bans Euthanasia? I thought we worked out on one of your shows (and the comments) that you thought that there was times when books should be banned and one of them was when they explained how to cause a crime. Like it or not Euthanasia is a crime in this country and from my understanding this book explains how to break that law. Therefor the government is right to ban the book.

    Now are they right to ban Euthanasia? Thats a different argument!
    On another matter, “burning” books? Have we got evidence/independent reports of this? Not saying they haven’t but it is a bit emotive for what has really happened don’t you think?


  2. No but you said it was fair enough to ban books that tell you how to commit a crime or do you think it is fine if someone printed a book about Bomb making from house hold items? Or what about kiddy porn, is that okay too?


  3. No, I don’t think I’ve ever said that. If making the book involves committing a crime – if the book has photos of kids being molested etc – then that’s one thing. But talking to people about how to make a bomb? That’s not a crime. If they build a bomb, then they are committing a crime, not the author.

    Otherwise all Road Runner cartoons should be made illegal.

  4. This is the whole argument Molly. They are making it a crime to talk about things, to write about things. That’s what’s wrong with the situation.

    Euthanasia being illegal is another issue.

  5. Eutheasia should be the choice of the individual.

    With your analogy of telling people how to kill themselves Molly, I could tell you that jumping of the Harbour bridge is a way to kill yourself. Is that any different than what they are doing by writing it down in a book, the result is the same, both ways can potentially kill you. So is sticking a fork in the powerpoint, where does it stop?

  6. Hey I am not agreeing with the law but the banning of the book is actually lawful and right with the law the way it is, which brings me back to you not having an issue with the banning as much as having a problem with the law (that forces the banning).

  7. I have a problem with censorship full stop. In my opinion it is wrong under any circumstances for a government to deny people access to media of any kind. I don’t trust governments to act as an arbiter of what I can and cannot read, watch or listen to. I don’t need to be protected nor do I want to be protected. Censorship is another control mechanism.

  8. [It always comes back to kiddy porn. The most ickiest of topics!]

    I also support the publishing of any material. Yes, any. If the book is full of kiddy porn then so be it – it’s unlikely to be a success in the marketplace and that will determine the future of the book.

    Banning such a book would be ineffective anyway – if someone wanted to get their hands on the material they will always be able to.

    However, it is illegal (and obviously should be) to perform sexual acts with minors. So such a book would be challenging to make without attracting the attention of the law…

  9. It depends on what you mean.

    Child Pornography, the act, is and should be illegal. I think there is a general consensus on that matter in our society. So anyone publishing a book that contained photographs of child pornography would be aiding and abetting. However, someone publishing a book discussing the ISSUE of child pornography, where no actual crime has been committed, should be legal.

    In publishing a book on euthanasia, there is no crime bring committed unless you make the act of TALKING about the issue, in itself, a crime. Which is what our government has done. They have made TALKING about something a crime, not just DOING the act itself.

  10. So you agree (in principle) that the Australian Office of Film and Literature Classification did there job correctly and the book should be banned?

    Also, as I understand (and for obvious reasons I haven’t read the book) doesn’t the book “aid and abett” someone committing euthanasia in that it describes how to make a suicide pill?


  11. They did their job in December 2006 and APPROVED the book. The Ruddock stepped in on behalf of the Right For Life nutters and had the decision overturned.

    Talking about how to do something isn’t (or, at least, SHOULDN’T be) a crime. Committing the act is the only crime. Talking about it is just thoughtcrime.

  12. Well I don’t know anymore what “their rules” are. Apparently, when the OFLC reviewed the book in Dec 2006, it passed by ‘their rules’. But Ruddock intervened and forced them to change their ruling. So did he change the rules? Or did he just ignore them? I don’t know. Do you?

  13. No I don’t but it seems that they have given reasons and the reasons fit the fact that the book doesn’t meet the guidelines. Isn’t it possible that the board stuffed up in allowing it and perhaps thats why there is a review process?

    But basically you agree with me right?

  14. Are you kidding Molly. I don’t agree with you and I don’t think Cam does either. The book shouldn’t be banned for discussing euthenasia. I am sure some politicians would ban the internet if they could but that isn’t happening anytime soon either. No matter how laws are made about books or anything else, unless you live in an isolated ‘net like China anything you want is freely available online.

    You really think banning this book would stop someone from finding info on how to kill themselves.

    As long as there is no actual law banning the sale of books about euthenasia then the book should be available for sale. Ruddock overstepped his boundaries as Attorney-General by going outside the law.

  15. No Tony, I am not kidding you. The board did the only thing they could do and thats ban the book that breaks the law. Your (and Cam’s) beef should be with the law not the banning of the book. Banning the book was right, with the current laws. The Laws are wrong!
    Get it?

    And on Cam’s “Terra Party”: Cam, you can’t even organise a 2nd Birthday party, what makes you think you could organise a Political Party! 😉

  16. Nik, we do and we don’t. I’ve said a few times recently that we don’t have a Bill of Rights in this country but we do have the traditional rights and freedoms of British subjects which are supposedly guaranteed by the Parliamentary system.

    In addition, Australia has an obligation, as a member of the United Nations, to abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted on December 10, 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations which, in part, states:

    “human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,”

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