5th & 7th April 2002


In Australia the Federal Government has original powers assigned by the constitution, and the states have what is left over, the "reserve" powers.  (This is the opposite of Canada, where the states have defined powers, and the federal government has the reserve powers.)

Any new technology automatically becomes a states' power, (unless the Commonwealth manages to persuade the High Court that it is an extension of an existing technology, (in which fashion, telephony became an extension of the Post), or until the Commonwealth manages to persuade the states to reassign their rights.)  The rights of the embryo were not something that our founding fathers thought to assign to the Commonwealth.

Prime Minister Johnny Howard, in a "me too" following of the lead of the US, adopted a highly religious stance, and declared that only existing embryos, those already slated for destruction, should be available for stem cell research.  (The US was originally settled by religious refugees, consequently there is a stronger strain of puritanism in the US than in Australia, which was settled by convicts and gold miners.)  Nonetheless, our PM disclosed (On the "John Laws" radio show) that he had consulted with God about his decision.

The States, led by NSW, are not having a bar of it.  Bob Carr, consummate politician and Premier of NSW, has declared a scientific "open slather" on embryos.  Victorian Premier Brack seems reluctant to allow total freedom to researchers in his state, but seems even unhappier to have technological talent migrate across the Murray.

The question is extremely difficult.  To become human, an embryo must become a cancer in some woman's womb for nine months.  So where does the sanctity of life begin?  By so protecting an embryo, the "morning after" pill becomes murder.

7th April.  At a Friday meeting the Prime Minister and State's Premiers announced that stem cell research would proceed with no restriction on the source of embryos.  Journalists have reported that NSW Premier Carr compromised by banning cloning.  On channel 9 "Sunday" Premier Carr reported that his government had legislation ready for Parliament that was intended to prevent cloning.


About 200 Palestinians have reportedly shot their way to sanctuary in the Christian "Church of the Nativity" in Bethlehem.  Included among their number is Ibrahim Abayat, a leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which has in the past claimed responsibility for suicide bombings and shootings.  At least eight other "wanted" terrorists are in the church.

The Israelis have not attacked the Palestinian forces in sanctuary.  This is doubtless out of respect for the religious sensibilities of the people of another faith.   This event may be a pivotal demonstration of the distinction between the PLO & Islam.  Civil murders and invasion of sanctuary is not a behavior befitting the inheritors of Saladin.  How Islam has fallen!

There are reports that Bush has asked the Israelis to withdraw "immediately".  Bush has also called for an "immediate and effective ceasefire".  Since Arafat has not made any move towards recanting his "millions of martyrs" speech made last week, it can be expected that the Israelis will feel no compunction about continuing their "cleanup" operation.

Bush invaded Afghanistan for sheltering the 9/11 terrorist organizers.   He must find it difficult to condemn Sharon for invading Palestine after Arafat sheltered and incited (and according to evidence found at Ramallah, provided money for) Palestinian terrorist activity.


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