About The Banner At The Top Of The Page

If you see a rainbow banner at the top of this blog page, it is an attempt by WordPress to use its corporate power to force its users and visitors to celebrate all things gay. It was supposed to be for the length of the Same Sex “Marriage” Survey in Australia, but they are refusing to say when the thing will be removed. People who try to protest are told by WordPress they are free to take their business elsewhere.

I am looking at alternative providers for my blog and will let you know when I find a suitable replacement.


Palliative Care The Correct Antidote to Euthanasia

Slipped in amongst the distraction of the Same Sex Marriage survey were attempts to legislate for assisted suicide in both Victoria and New South Wales. While the NSW legislation failed to pass Parliament, in Victoria the legislation is tracking to be passed.
In this article from the Centre for Independent Studies, Jessica Borbasi argues that if the truth about palliative care is understood, there is no need for any form of euthanasia.

Cancel the one-way tickets to Victoria

Jessica Borbasi


health care pallative heartIt is a sad reality that perfectly well older Australians are looking into their futures and finding solace in the potential of physician-assisted suicide.

Irrespective of what this says about our society and our care of the elderly, the death myths driving the desire for a one-way ticket to Victoria (in anticipation of the legislation being passed) deserve to be critiqued before it’s too late.

Myth 1: Palliative care doesn’t work

There is sound evidence that palliative care not only provides relief from suffering — physical, psychosocial and spiritual — at the end of life but that it also improves satisfaction with care and rates of depression. The benefits of palliative care extend to families and carers.

In Australia, as little as 1-5% of people who receive palliative care have a sustained request to hasten their death.

Myth 2: Palliative care hastens death anyway

Despite popular belief, there is no evidence that quality palliative care — by relieving suffering — hastens death.

In fact, the landmark trial for palliative care found that those patients with lung cancer who received palliative care despite not receiving any ‘active’ treatment actually lived longer than those receiving chemotherapy. This was thought to be due to the reduced rates of depression among palliative care recipients — as depression likely hastens death.

Myth 3: Death is inevitably horrible

The overwhelming majority of patients who receive palliative care are not in pain when they die, do not request to hasten death, and are not fearful.

However, the overwhelming majority of older Australians who die from chronic disease do not receive palliative care. Dying within a health system that is geared towards curing and treating instead of caring and comforting means death has become dreaded.

Death is not inevitably horrible. It is the lack of palliative care and the way the system manages death that arouses dread.

Myth 4: 70% of Australians want to die at home

A South Australian study in 2006 asked participants as young as 15 where would they like to die if they had a terminal illness; 70% said ‘at home’. More robust research has asked people with a terminal illness and their families where they would like to die and where they would like to be cared for.

Most people want to be cared for at home but there is an increasing trend for both patients and their families to request a more supportive clinical environment in which to die. Death in hospital is not the problem — death without palliative care is.

Myth 5: Palliative care is about dying well

Palliative care has more to offer than a ‘good death’. A wealth of Australian and international evidenceshows that palliative care improves quality of life for both patients and their families. It does this by managing symptoms well and supporting patients to be as active as possible prior to death.

The peak of the baby boomer generation will reach 65 years of age in 2021 most of them will have four chronic diseases and with increasing frailty will die at very old ages (most don’t want to go the way their parents did).

We have four years to create a health system that can offer better community based care for older Australians with chronic disease.

Four years to re-arrange the fragmented health system and do away with the myths shrouding death.

We have even less time to provide a view of the future that isn’t so bleak as to inspire a desire to check into hotel Nembutal.

Dr Jessica Borbasi is a medical doctor and a research associate at the Centre for Independent Studies. She is the author of Life Before Death: Improving palliative care for older Australians.

Another “Green”Hare-brain Scheme

The ABC is breathlessly reporting that London busses may soon be powered by waste coffee grounds. This is a relief to those who also bought the story about global warming, if unchecked, could reduce the area suitable for coffee cultivation.

So here’s the plan. You go to all those coffee shops around London, scrounge their bin for a litre or two of waste, take it to the factory, refine it and there you have it- “bio-diesel” for your bus fleet.

Here is the problem. You have a choice of a product that is low and variable quality and distributed in small quantities over a large area which then  has to be refined in a small scale facility and then sent to the bus fuel station. Or you could use a product of known and standardised quality, produced in huge quantities through known processes and with already established distribution facilities.

It’s not hard to work out which is going to win hands down.

I started to try to work out a rough estimate of costs but there isn’t enough information to go on. I suspect that residents of London will end up paying more in the name of saving the planet, with no real guarantee that they are reducing CO2 emissions which is given as the aim of the process.

Plants Responsible for 11 Times More CO2 in the Atmosphere Than People

In a rational science-based world this would be the end of the Great Climate Change Scare. If plants produce 11 times as much CO2 as human activity, and if CO2 is the main driver of climate change then really anything we do is minor compared to the natural inputs.

In a rational world the huge subsidies paid to solar and wind power producers would end, and with them the crazy electricity prices destroying industry and employment in many Western countries.

In a rational world politicians and journalists would be reading this article and joining the dots.

From, of all places, the ABC:

Plants release up to 30 per cent more CO2 than previously thought, study says


While much focus is placed on human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, research from teams around the world suggests plants could be contributing up to 11 times as much.

A study involving the Australian National University, Western Sydney University, and centres around the world has found plants release more carbon dioxide through their respiration than previously thought.

And what is more, as global temperatures rise, scientists say the output of carbon dioxide by plants will accelerate.

During daylight hours, plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen through photosynthesis, however plants also release carbon dioxide through respiration.

ANU researcher Owen Atkin said plant respiration was previously thought to account for five to eight times the carbon compared to human activity.

However the new findings suggested that number could be much higher.

“Each year the burning of fossil fuels releases around 5 to 8 billion tons of carbon … so the respiration by plants is somewhere approaching 11 times that in our new estimate,” he said.

“That’s an enormous flux.

“What will happen in the future will be that those rates of carbon released by plants will increase as the world gets warmer, and it will have an impact on how much carbon is stored in vegetation, how much accumulates in the atmosphere in the future.”

The study examined about 1,000 plant species in a range of climate extremes, to determine how much carbon dioxide is released in various scenarios.

“This will have fairly substantial implications for our ability to model carbon flows between landscapes and the atmosphere, and ultimately how much carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere,” Professor Atkin said.

Researchers said plants could also see a declining ability to absorb carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere through photosynthesis, and that carbon flow models and budget projections would need to be altered in response to the findings.

I just love the weasel word “could” in that final paragraph. It also overlooks the fact that the world is greening in response to higher CO2 levels.


“Messy Seniors”

Messy Church was started as a format for families and children, but really it’s for everyone.

‘Messy Seniors’ brings church to the people

The Rev. Heather Liddell shares the story of “Messy Seniors” at the Messy Church Canada Conference October 27 at Wycliffe College in Toronto. Photo: Joelle Kidd

Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Edmonton, Alta., thought Messy Church would be a perfect fit. The largest church in its diocese, Holy Trinity runs large children’s and youth programs and has an active congregation.

It seemed like a good idea. The all-ages monthly service centred around craft activities, storytelling and sharing a meal; kids and grown-ups enjoyed the biblical learning activities. “We built blanket forts in the sanctuary, we packed lunches for our trip with the three Magi,” recalled the Rev. Heather Liddell, associate curate at Holy Trinity, during a workshop she led October 27 at the Messy Church Canada Conference at Wycliffe College in Toronto, Ont.

While kids and families were a target audience of Messy Church, Liddell and her team tried intentionally to include single people, childless adults and seniors in the ministry.

Eventually, they noticed, these groups were far more interested in attending the Messy Church than the young families were. “We realized a traditional Messy wasn’t the best fit for our context when we admitted that every session was a struggle,” Liddell wrote in an email to the Anglican Journal. It was difficult to get volunteers, attendance was low and it was not uncommon for Liddell to be “up until the wee hours prepping crafts, alone…or cleaning up, alone.”

The team at Holy Trinity realized they had launched the program without thinking about who was in their community and who it was designed to serve.

To find out who actually lived in their community, Liddell said, the team pulled census data for the area. They were surprised to find that almost no kids lived nearby. “What we found was a lot of really lonely seniors,” Liddell told conference attendees.

The area is populated with retiree and assisted living homes. “We started asking the question, ‘What would Messy Church look like with them?’ ”

The answer to that question became Canada’s first Messy Church ministry directed toward senior citizens. (“Messy Vintage,” a U.K. initiative, offers something similar.)

“Messy Seniors” is held in a high-needs home for seniors with advanced cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Liddell hopes that other Messy Churches can be started in other seniors’ homes in their community.

Bringing the church into the care home was an exercise in contextualizing. Using the core values of Messy Church—Christ-centred, for all ages, creativity, hospitality and celebration—Liddell and her team adapted the program for a new setting.

The context had its challenges; care home rules prevent bringing in outside food, for example, meaning they were unable to follow the typical Messy Church model of eating a hot meal together. With so many attendees struggling with arthritis or failing eyesight, crafts that require dexterity or heavy reading were not ideal. However, because of Messy Church’s “free-flowing structure,” Liddell says, it was easy to adapt for different needs. What’s more, she says, it brought together children and seniors. “It is precisely that intergenerational piece that is so important and so often missing from our church’s [across the Communion] approaches to care for seniors.”

In fact, at the “Messy Seniors” Church, children lead the service as “trained volunteers.” Empowering children to lead the church activities “gives them the opportunity to interact with someone they wouldn’t have a chance to in their regular lives.”

“Is there any better picture of the kingdom of heaven than a little girl helping a wheelchair-bound man in his 90s—whose family is faraway and too busy to visit very often—tie knots (that his fingers are too arthritic to make) in a simple star mobile while talking about God’s promise to make Abraham’s descendants more numerous than the stars?”

One young girl who wasn’t sure she wanted to come because “old people are gross and smell funny,” “left walking on air and asking when she can come back,” Liddell said. “She is by far our best recruiter for volunteers.”

Our society, Liddell says, has “sequestered the aging process,” and children don’t get much chance to spend time with the elderly. “It is mostly a fear of the unknown—once kids start interacting with the elderly, they realize not only how fun they can be, but that they’re people, too.”

The Messy Church model, with its emphasis on hands-on activities and storytelling, is “fun, silly and familiar without being infantilizing,” says Liddell. With many residents in the care home struggling with memory and eyesight loss, hearing a familiar story, lovingly told, is precious.

“Life is messy, and getting older is difficult. It changes our perspectives any time we step out of our comfort zones and encounter a new aspect of life. It’s the same if you’re 6, 10, 25 or 90.”

Economic Stupidity


One of the things I really loathe about the place our society has sunk to is that people -often so-called “experts”, politicians and commentators- say stupid things and nobody challenges them.

On Wednesday the stupidest comment that I heard, and there were many in the category, was that legalising gay “marriage” will boost the economy by $1 billion per year. They quoted unnamed “economists” but I would say most of them would be Year 11 students.

Even if you take the quote at face value, and there was no evidence that this number was anything other than plucked out of the air on the spur of the moment, a billion dollars is nothing in our economy. Last year the Australian GDP was about a trillion dollars, so even a billion dollars increase is next to nothing, a rounding error (0.1% of the total). Compare this to coal which last year we exported over $56 billion.

But here is the stupid part of the figure. Most, if not all of the $1 billion that will now be spent (and we have no information about how accurate that figure is), would have been spent anyway. It is not money that suddenly appeared from nowhere. Yes, people in the wedding industry will get a boost, but that will be at the expense of other sectors of the economy. We all know that if you have to spend money on one thing you can’t spend it on another thing.

The annoying thing is that nobody ever questions these figures, whether handed out by politicians or unnamed sources. Don’t believe anything you hear in the media, especially when somebody is boosting their pet cause.