Ruddock censors euthanasia handbook

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has moved rapidly to demand that the Classification Review Board bans a book on euthanasia, the Peaceful Pill Handbook, even though the board OK’d the book just a month earlier, in December 2006. “This executive government banning sets a new low for censorship in Australia,” CLA CEO Bill Rowlings says in a media release.

CLA Media release immediate

17 Jan 07

Nudge, nudge, ban, ban … government prescribes censorship

If you want to read The Peaceful Pill Handbook, which provides information on assisted death and voluntary euthanasia, buy a copy quickly.

The man who has been unable to get David Hicks freed from Guantanamo Bay in five years, AttorneyGeneral Philip Ruddock, has moved with the speed of light to get the book banned, says Bill Rowlings of Civil Liberties Australia.

“In December 2006, the Classification Review Board approved an Australianprinted 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 overseasprinted edition was a prohibited import,” he said.

“Because the different decisions are embarrassing the government, Mr Ruddock last week (on 12 Jan 07) asked the Classification Review Board, Australia’s censor, ‘for a review of the decision’. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

“So the AttorneyGeneral, 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 Review Board, which he himself appointed.

“He has formally asked them to ‘review’ their decision…or, in other words, indicated with crystal clarity that he wants the book banned.

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

PS: The National Library of Australia may have a copy: it lists The Peaceful Pill Handbook by Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart, published 2007 by Exit International of Darwin, on its “prerelease” register. Will the Thought Police be mounting a raid on the National Library?

Details of the book: http://www.peacefulpillhandbook.com/


FYI:


Ruddock media release: SUICIDE HANDBOOK referred for review

12 Jan 07


AttorneyGeneral Philip Ruddock has today asked the Classification Review Board to review the classification of The Peaceful Pill Handbook, a publication which provides information on assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.

In September 2006, the Australian Customs Service seized copies of the book as a prohibited import under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. In December 2006 the Classification Board classified it as Category 1 Restricted, meaning it had been approved for
distribution.

The AttorneyGeneral said this highlighted an apparent anomaly in the application of two pieces of Commonwealth legislation.

“The means is that the publication is legally available within Australia but it cannot be legally imported into Australia,” Mr Ruddock said.

Under the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the AttorneyGeneral can apply to the Classification Review Board for a review of a Classification Board decision.

“This is an important issue and a classification review is the appropriate mechanism for testing the classification of this material,” Mr Ruddock said.

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