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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

strange happenings « Previous | |Next »
June 17, 2004

The Federal Health Minister, Tony Abbott, has been trying to give parents access to teenagers' Medicare records. It would raise raise from 14 to 16 the age of children whose parents can access Medicare information about their contact with doctors and prescriptions.

Bill Leak

This "families first" measure was aimed at preventing teenagers under 16 from seeing doctors without the knowledge of their parents. Sounds like control of teenage sexuality to me.

Abbott is also trying to return the morning- after pill (Postinor-2) to prescription-only status. He wants to reverse the National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee recommendation that made the emergency contraception available without prescription, from January 1.

What in heavens name is Abbott up to with this sexual politics? This bio-politics is trying to control the sexual activity of teenage women in the name of preventing promiscuousness.

Is he trying to appease the Christian right who presume that Australia is a Christian nation. Is that why there was such hostility to gay marriage? What next? Banning abortion? Blocking stem cell research? Oh, the Liberals want to ban any mention of homosexuality on kids' TV.

It is strange. Are the Christian conservatives saying that the liberal secular political principles such as justice, equality and liberty are inadequate? Are they saying that we also need Christian values if our earthly political order is to achieve good and desirable ends? Are they saying that liberty is not the supreme virtue of our political order?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:32 PM | | Comments (2)


I think the aim is not so much appeasing Christian Right voters as trying to force the Opposition to come out against these proposals and make themselves the story.

Australia's Christian Right is tiny and already soaked up by parties like the Christian Democrats in NSW. With compulsory preferential voting, their support always ends up with Coalition candidates anyway, so there's no need to appease them with policy as there's nothing to lose either way for the Libs.

Instead, Abbott is usi9ng this issue as Howard used 'lesbian IVF" against Beazley a few years back. He's desperate for Carmen Lawrence or Jenny Macklin or someone similar to rush out and condemn him, and force Latham to:
a) Oppose the Government and waste a week or two of media time talking about a pointless 'morality' distraction; or
b) repudiate his colleagues and waste a week of media time dealing with 'ALP split!' stories.

Wisely, Latham and his front bench are ignoring the issue altogether. Stay tuned for more of the same though -- perhaps next it will be compulsory virginity tests for under 16's, or a ban on contraceptives, or perhaps a ban on gay marriage (oh, we did that one already). The "Son of Star Wars' issue is another of these wedge attempts.

Pardon me if this sounds a little bitter. The people who are really to blame for the constant use of these silly tactics are the Federal Press Gallery, I think. If they weren't so breathless and hysterical in reporting any piece of old rubbish as if its hot news, politicians would stop using these sleazy tactics and perhaps be forced to discuss more worthwhile issues and ones that have a snowflake's chance in hell of actually being enacted as law.

But this is wishful thinking.

I reckon you are right.

Maybe it has something to do with Senator Brian Harradine?

Just a suggestion.