Sunday, 25 February 2007

A book that Dr Phillip Nitschke contributed to, The Peaceful Pill Handbook, has been banned by the federal government, reports the ABC.

The book wasn't banned because it encouraged people to commit suicide, said Classification Review Board co-convenor, Maureen Shelley. "But to instruct them in ways which are unlawful which breach other legislation is not permissible." According to the ABC, "it was rejected because the book instructs people on how to make and import barbiturates, as well as how to conceal a death from the coroner".

In this way she distanced the decision from right-to-lifers. The ABC covered an earlier move to ban the book, by attourney-general Philip Ruddock. This time, he's been successful.

The broadcast showed retailers removing the books from their shelves. The book can no longer be brought into the country.

It's disgraceful that political influence from ministers can alter what should be independent decisions by the Office of Film and Literature Classification. According to the media release accompanying this decision, "The Classification Review Board is an independent merits review body."

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