If you want to read The Peaceful Pill Handbook, which provides information on assisted death and voluntary euthanasia, you are now too late. The man who has been unable to get David Hicks freed from Guantanamo Bay in five years, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, moved with the speed of light to get the book banned, says Bill Rowlings of Civil Liberties Australia.

“In December 2006, the Classification Board approved an Australian-printed edition for sale in book stores in Australia wrapped in plastic, and only for people over 18. But in September 2006, Customs had ruled an overseas-printed edition was a prohibited import,” he said.

“Because the different decisions were embarrassing the Government – and the Right to Life organisation was in his ear – Mr Ruddock l on 12 January 2007 asked the Classification Review Board, Australia’s Super Censor, ‘for a review of the decision’. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

“So the Attorney-General, who is happy to accept US Bush Administration umpiring decisions in the case of David Hicks, won’t accept the decision of the independent umpire, the Australian Classification Board, which he himself appointed.

“This Executive Government banning of a book sets a new low for censorship in Australia,” Mr Rowlings said.

PS: The National Library of Australia would have had a copy: in early 2007 it listed The Peacefull Pill Handbook by Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart, published 2007 by Exit International of Darwin, on its “pre-release” register. Will the Thought Police be mounting a raid on the National Library? Can the NLA keep the book as an example, for academic study, of banned books and censorship in Australia?

NOTE: The Classification Review Board banned the book on 24 February 2007 because: ‘…it instructs in the crime of the manufacture of barbiturates. Further, a majority of the (Classification) Review Board determined that it also instructs in the crimes of the possession and importation of barbiturates and in offences under Coroners legislation in all States and Territories’.
“The handbook gives detailed, although flawed and incomplete, instruction in the manufacture of a barbiturate, which the book states is the closest substance to a ‘peaceful pill’,” said Classification Review Board Convenor, Maureen Shelley.

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