Ethics

Legalising assisted dying would be a failure of collective human memory and imagination

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We can judge the ethical tone of a society by how it treats its weakest and most in need. With euthanasia we offer them death instead of loving care. Margaret Somerville  The Guardian Dying and death is not a new phenomenon: we have always become ill, suffered, were going to die and someone else could have killed us. So why now, at the beginning of the 21st century, after prohibiting euthanasia for thousands of years and when we can do ... Read More »

FactCheck: are children ‘better off’ with a mother and father than with same-sex parents?

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Public campaigns for and against same-sex marriage have been heightened by the Turnbull government’s plan to conduct a $122 million voluntary postal survey asking the nation whether same-sex couples should be able to marry under Australian law. Jennifer Power Simon Crouch The Conversation Discussing his opposition to same-sex marriage during an interview on Sky News, Liberal MP Kevin Andrews said children who are brought up with a mother and a father “are, as a cohort, better off than those who ... Read More »

World must act to halt genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

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World must act to halt genocide of Rohingya Muslims in MyanmarPersecution of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s security forces has escalated to its worst level in years, becoming one of the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises. Editorial The Age So extreme is the systematic brutality against this stateless, downtrodden and demonised minority of 1.1 million people in a nation of 54 million, 90 per cent of whom are Buddhists, that the United Nations is suggesting it is tantamount to ethnic cleansing ... Read More »

Dutton should learn to live with lawyers helping in matters of life and death

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Mandatory detention and boat turn-backs have been proposed – and rejected – in the past. How have we moved from a humanitarian approach to this cruelty? Claire Higgins The Guardian <linkrel=”stylesheet”type=”text/css”href=”https://assets.guim.co.uk/stylesheets/4c4e9fc6f6275cf538d9f9f274cb7afd/content.css”/> Lawyers who defend asylum seekers, the immigration minister believes, are ”un-Australian”. Peter Dutton is not the first minister to level criticism at asylum seeker advocates. But history shows that things could – and should – have turned out very differently. Speaking in the wake of news that the Turnbull ... Read More »

Artificial intelligence researchers must learn ethics

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Scientists who build artificial intelligence and autonomous systems need a strong ethical understanding of the impact their work could have. James Harland Conversation More than 100 technology pioneers recently published an open letter to the United Nations on the topic of lethal autonomous weapons, or “killer robots”. These people, including the entrepreneur Elon Musk and the founders of several robotics companies, are part of an effort that began in 2015. The original letter called for an end to an arms ... Read More »

Churches offer sanctuary to asylum seekers affected by welfare crackdown

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Australia’s Christian churches are offering sanctuary to 100 asylum seekers caught up in a Government welfare crackdown affecting those who were originally transported to Australia for medical treatment. Lexy Hamilton-Smith ABC Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said those whose treatment had been finalised would no longer receive financial assistance from the Government. The asylum seekers have been meeting with Immigration officials over the last two days to discuss cuts to their assistance. However, if they can find a way to ... Read More »

Democrats exploit GOP ethics woes in battle for the House

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Some longtime Republicans are dogged by ethical questions, and Democrats believe their seats are now within reach. ELENA SCHNEIDER and AUSTIN WRIGHT Politico Duncan Hunter’s Southern California district isn’t normally a serious target for Democrats. But a criminal investigation into allegations of campaign funds for personal use — including flying his pet rabbit across the country — isn’t exactly normal either. Hunter is one of a handful of House Republicans in ethical hot water that could put their typically safe seats at ... Read More »

Society Should ‘Filter’ Information Based on Moral Principles – Putin

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Society should by itself create a system of moral and ethical principles which would help filter information published by the media, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday. Sputnik  BAKALSKA KOSA (Sputnik) – Speaking about censorship at the 2017 Tavrida International Educational Youth Forum in Crimea, Putin said that only publication of information prohibited by law must be restricted, while other things must be “filtered” by society… This can be done only one way, through filtration by the means of the creative community itself. It would be right if society ... Read More »

The only hope for democracy is for politicians to stand up to political parties

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Opinion Democracy has largely been reduced to a contest between three dominant parties, two of which act in coalition. Tony Fitzgerald  ABC Each is a private organisation with a small membership which primarily represents the interests — in particular the economic interests — of a section of the… They dominate public discussion and debate and one or other of them has governed Australia for more than 70… They enacted the… The only hope… Read More »

ATO fraud scandal: just how big is the public service’s nepotism problem?

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Public servants’ conflicts of interest remain ineffectively monitored. Richard Mulgan The Canberra Times The recent resignation of Tax Office deputy commissioner Michael Cranston, along with allegations of impropriety against other senior ATO officials, raises important questions about public sector ethics and… The accusations arose out of extensive inquiries into a tax fraud involving Plutus Payroll Australia, a company providing payroll services for large… ATO fraud scandal… Read More »

Who is responsible if a brain-controlled robot drops a baby?

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Neuroethics: Neurotech experts call for new measures to ensure brain-controlled devices are beneficial and safe Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering EurekAlert! Wyss Center, Geneva, Switzerland – As brain-controlled robots enter everyday life, an article published in Science states that now is the time to take action and put in place guidelines that ensure the safe and… Accountability, responsibility, privacy and security are all key when considering ethical dimensions of this emerging… Who is responsible… Read More »

Why do politicians get away with peddling porkies and ‘alternative facts’?

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Analysis In my house, if you claim to know something, you’d better be correct. It’s become a common reflex to ask whether the dispenser of facts is 100 per cent certain of their veracity. Emma Alberici ABC Such is the quest to be first with knowledge that serious familial opprobrium rains on those who dare to insist they’re right when they are not. So when I recently declared that I was 110 per cent confident that Uluru was the town ... Read More »

Orthodox Jewish girls school faces closure for refusing to teach children about homosexuality

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A private Orthodox Jewish elementary school called the Vishnitz Girls School in Hackney, north London, is facing closure by the British government because it does not include curriculum that teaches children about homosexuality and gender reassignment… Brandon Morse TheBlaze According to Heat Street, a report by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Schools (Ofsted) says that the Vishnitz Girls School does not teach its 212 attending children — aged three through eight — “a full understanding of fundamental British… The ... Read More »

Malcolm Fraser’s widow Tamie condemns Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s treatment of refugees in Australia

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Tamie Fraser AO, refugee advocate and wife of the late former Prime Minister Malcolm, has used World Refugee Day to criticise the current Liberal government’s stance on… ABC – Jon Faine “Last year I didn’t talk about this because there was an election coming up, but I can’t look at it any longer and say it’s OK. It’s not ok to treat refugees as they’re being treated in Australia at this… Mrs Fraser, who affectionately described herself on… Malcolm Fraser’s ... Read More »

What does the Anna Stubblefield case teach us about sentencing and sexual assault?

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Analysis A former chair of philosophy at Rutgers University had sex with a man who can’t speak. RN By Eleanor Gordon-Smith for The Philosopher’s Zone ABC The resulting court battle raised questions about when and why suffering matters in sentencing — and Anna Stubblefield went to jail. You might remember reading about it in the New York Times. For a minute it looked like the story would end there: Stubblefield looking open-mouthed over her shoulder in the black and… What ... Read More »

Ethics office will press White House on undated conflict-of-interest waivers

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The Office of Government Ethics plans to press the White House to clarify when it issued a slew of ethics waivers giving its staffers permission to interact with their former employers or clients, an indication that the… Matea Gold  The Washington Post Ten of the 14 waivers publicly disclosed this week by the White House are undated and unsigned, raising questions about when they… Particularly troubling, ethics experts said, was a… Ethics office will… Read More »