THE enactment in the Queensland Legislative Assembly yesterday of a bill legalising homicide and the morning announcement of a deal enabling Australia to put its first nuclear-powered submarine to sea in about 2040 interface as cultural developments in two ways. Queensland’s new “Voluntary Assisted Dying” law received the sort of coverage the media reserves for the ‘inevitable’ victory of a ‘progressive’ cause: at-long-last mawkishness combined with moving-right-along indifference. The fundamental lie at the heart of Annastacia Palaszczuk’s euthanasia law is that it will ‘assist’ people to simply die. Those who make use of it, however, will in fact be killed by doctors – in many cases, on premises essentially commandeered by the state. (Never, by the way, have I been more adamant that ‘doctors’ don’t deserve this historically embezzled title). The VAD-eliminated will become the first generation of dying Australians to wilfully leave to their grandchildren an ethically corrupted, more dangerous medicine. As the week ends to the sound of military tub-thumping, the sad reality is that our country’s morality becomes more Chinese by the day.
Second, let’s consider words and their meaning. China’s best propagandists couldn’t do any better than the Orwellian weasel words, assisted dying. Like the warped inversions of coronavirus patois, the phrase is an untruth we are encouraged to believe to make ourselves feel protected. This points to an increasingly infantilised nation whose governments now rule in loco parentis. Amidst all the jockstrap overkill regarding AUKUS in The Australian today – I count no fewer than ten columns on the accord – there is virtually no acknowledgement that our future subs’ only purpose will be to wage war against – or deter – China as a small part of a US armada. Defence and national security were never his strong suits and his imitation of Kim Philby – a Kim Philby who never bothered to defect – is outlandish. But Sinophile Paul Keating justifiably says this part aloud.
Retired Rear Admiral Peter Clarke told foreign affairs columnist Ben Packham that Australia will have the ability “to strike without warning against adversaries’ homelands, then disappear to fight another day.” Unless it’s Papua New Guinea we’re striking, we won’t be fighting alone. I respect the prudent lingua franca of diplomacy, welcome the quasi-nuclearisation of our fleet and hope the old Coalition of the Willing lasts a thousand years. But in light of the fact that the AUKUS nations just lost a twenty-year war – and that the United States is an increasingly unsound state – it would be preferable for adults not to pretend we have a solo capability to strike anybody’s homeland. We’ve seen how foundational dishonesty like that can end.