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04 August 2011

Bills, bills, bills.

Wish-list of a wowser.

This morning’s Sydney Morning Herald included a report about the ongoing attempt by Fred Nile to punch above his weight remove any alternative to religious instruction in public schools. Featured next to the story was one of those big shaded boxes of small bits of information which are especially tailored for those of us who attempt to read the paper and drink a cup of tea while a three-year-old balances on their knee with one leg in the air shouting “CAN YOU DO THIS???”
This one listed private members’ bills proposed for introduction into the upper house. The Reverend Nile’s list is quite comprehensive, so I’ve taken the trouble to look at each bill and provide my comment below. I know, I know – you’ve been hanging out for this all day. But someone had to make the lunches and say “Mmmm.... uh-huh” at Lego.
So here they are – Fred Nile’s proposals as I see them, based on nothing more than a cursory glance at a tea-stained SMH:

1. Adoption Amendment
Repeals the amendments that let couples of the same sex adopt children.
Same-sex couples are evil. Children brought up by same-sex couples are evil. Same-sex couples only want to adopt children to make a point of how evil they are, and couldn’t possibly want a child as much as those proper boy-girl couples that God likes.

2. Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Prohibition
Prohibits the advertising of alcoholic beverages and related trademarks, brand names and logos.
I think I can see where he’s going with this one. Banning alcohol means nobody will buy alcohol which means nobody will get drunk and be arseholes to each other and become alcoholics and ruin everything. It’s worked in the past. Honestly though, this is as good as any other proposal I’ve seen for stopping people drinking too much and being arseholes.

3. Child Protection (Nicole’s Law)
Requires the public to be notified of the identity and residential addresses of convicted child sex offenders.
On one hand, people who commit sex offences involving children deserve to wear underpants made of razor-blade-wielding scorpions and eat stale turds for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, like it or not, even soulless scumbags are entitled to some privacy and protection. Tell you what - I’ll support this one if everybody promises to mind their own business and leave the pitchforks at home.

4. Classification Enforcement Amendment
Prohibit the possession of restricted X-rated films.
Generally speaking, as long as everyone appearing in a film wants to appear in it, doesn’t abuse anyone who doesn’t request abuse and gets paid enough, I don’t really give a rat’s who owns and watches them. I don’t like restricted X-rated films or the industry that makes them. I don’t like Justin Bieber or the industry that manufactured him, either. Doesn’t mean he should be made illegal.

5. Destruction of Child in Utero – Zoe’s Law
Creates a new offence relating to the destruction of a child in utero.
Punishing someone for causing the death of an unborn baby is fine with me. I’m not so certain that the charge of murder or manslaughter is appropriate if the mother of the unborn child survives though. In fact, I’m not really certain of anything in this case. This is me backing away quietly from something I don’t know much about. See? It can happen.

6. Incitement or Promotion of Terrorism and Violence
Makes it an offence to publish material that incites or promotes terrorism or violence.
I’m cool with this one, as long as the definitions of “incites”, “promotes”, “terrorism” and “violence” are crystal clear. For example, if I say that I’d appreciate it if someone would provide religious nutjobs with a swift kick in the nuts, does that count?

7. Pre-natal Termination
Prohibits the destruction of any child in utero with a detectable heartbeat.
I’m not even going to dignify this with a bunch of words. Instead, I think I have a picture somewhere of Fred Nile driving to work.
Oh yes, here it is.


8. Soliciting Sex for Payment
Prohibit a person soliciting another for sexual gratification for payment.
If you need it, if you can’t find it anywhere else, if you’ve got the funds and you’re not my husband, go for your life. Just do it safely. And don’t expect Julia Roberts.

9. Drug and Alcohol Treatment Amendment
Provides for the involuntary rehabilitative care of persons with severe substance dependence.
Hands up who hasn’t wanted to smack some sense into a self-destructive drug addict? I know I have, but I do need help with this one. Is it possible to rehabilitate someone who doesn’t want to be rehabilitated? I honestly don’t know.

10. Ethics Classes Repeal
Repeals ethics classes as a secular alternative to special religious education at government schools.
Ok. Grrr. Fred, do you know what “a secular alternative to special religious education” is? Everything. You see, in a secular system, which is what our schools are supposed to be, being able to do something other than receive religious instruction is fundamental. Whether it’s ethics classes, general religion classes, Advanced Satanism or whittling is irrelevant. As I see it, uncontested religious instruction is the alternative. The alternative to Growing The Hell Up And Being Sensible.

11. Family Impact Commission
A study of the moral, social and economic effects on the family unit of government laws and expenditure.
First, anyone who can define “the family unit” gets a prize. Second, if anyone can explain to me how moral and social effects of laws and expenditure could be measured, I’d really like to know. Third, I think we need a study into the moral, social and economic effects on the family unit of performing a stupid study like this. And finally, what the hell for?

12. Drinking Age
Minimum drinking age raised to 21 years.
Whatever. Add three years onto the age at which people are legally and arbitrarily allowed to take their first drink if it really stuffs your olive.

13. Health Warning for Pregnant Women
Requires packaged liquor to contain a health warning about the danger of drinking when pregnant.
No objection from me. If it makes a significant difference to the number of babies affected by maternal alcoholism then that would be a Good Thing. But seriously, if you need a warning label to tell you that drinking while pregnant isn’t a good thing to do, then I’d prefer you didn’t procreate at all.

14. Pregnancy Termination
Requires women considering terminating a viable pregnancy to undergo counselling and to view an ultrasound of their unborn child.
Abortion counselling equals awesome in my book. Women who decide to terminate a pregnancy should be given factual, evidence-based information and advice about their options, physical and psychological impact and health risks. Requiring those women to view an ultrasound of their unborn child is just stupid and manipulative. I don’t think any woman in history has felt good about terminating a pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a bloody good reason to do so. Why make them feel worse?

15. Sex Services Advertising Prohibition
Prohibits the advertising of sex services.
Bollocks to that. If you’re providing a legal, safe, desired service, you should have the freedom to put a tacky ad in the local paper, complete with titillating euphemisms.

16. Full-face Coverings Prohibition
Prohibits people wearing full-face coverings in public places.
Humphrey B. Bear will be very upset about this one. And surgeons at public hospitals may find it quite inconvenient. Unless you mean... oooh. Well then, if we’re talking about removing veils, why don’t you just come out and say that all Muslims are shifty-eyed terrorists? And while you’re at it, please cover up Fred. I’m sick of looking at him.

17. State Senate
Authorises the use of the term “State Senate” as a reference to the Legislative Council and the use of the term “State Senator” for a member of the council.
Now this one is important. It’s right up there with the great Potato/Potato argument. Go for it.