CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

High Court Rules In Favour Of Pro-Death Exclusion Zones

Apr 10, 2019

Moments ago the High Court, meeting in Brisbane, handed down a decision that will have a big impact not only on a handful of brave individuals, but on the whole country. It had to do with freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest. But let me first offer some background to all this.

Some of the greatest unsung heroes of our time are those that most people may have never heard about. These folks are often just ordinary citizens, including quiet and dedicated homemakers. Two such people are the prolife champions Kathy Clubb from Melbourne and Graham Preston from Brisbane.

They may be very ordinary persons, but they are also extraordinary saints in the Kingdom. They may be unremarkable persons, but they are doing an exceedingly remarkable work for God and for life. Indeed, so much so that this is the third time I have devoted an entire article about her and the fourth time about him.

The first time I wrote about her was in 2016 when she was the first person to be arrested as a result of Victoria’s draconian and unjust exclusion zone law that had passed late in 2015:
billmuehlenberg.com/2016/08/04/ordinary-people-become-extraordinary-warriors/

A year later I wrote about how she was found guilty and slugged with a very hefty fine for daring to offer help and hope to mothers and their babies. I discussed that outcome here:
billmuehlenberg.com/2017/10/11/mother-punished-loving-babies/

But she did not just accept this decision – she challenged it, seeking to argue that these exclusion zones which keep prolifers away from abortion mills were unconstitutional. Early in October of last year she sought to make that case in the High Court.

For a half a year now she and Graham have been waiting on the decision from Australia’s highest court concerning this case in particular and the validity and legality of bubble zone laws in general. In Victoria these laws mean that no pro-lifer can get closer than 150 metres to an abortion clinic.

She knew that the decision would be important not just for her, but for the whole nation. As she wrote last week:

Yesterday, I prayed at the exclusion-zone with mixed feelings. It was my last shift of 40 Days for Life before the High Court gives their verdict. Next week when I go back, there’s a possibility that the law will have been struck down and the exclusion-zones will be gone. But there’s also the possibility – too awful to contemplate – that exclusion-zones will still be there, and that every state will be free to implement them. Whatever happens, no one can ever stop any of us from praying to end abortion.
Fiat voluntas tua.

Well, we now have that decision. Sadly, and perhaps not unexpectedly, it has gone against the pair, and against life. The Court dismissed their challenge and ruled that their fines will stand and they will have to bear the court costs. Said Kathy Clubb: “It’s bad enough that so many babies are killed but today free speech has been killed.”

Yep. Just the other day major parts of the Melbourne CBD were shut down by vegan militants. Will they pay any price for their actions? I won’t hold my breath on that one. Perhaps a case could be made that exclusion zones for feral vegans should be established.

Yet peaceful prolifers who usually just pray in silence are banned from getting anywhere near those they are trying to reach out to in love. Go figure. More news about the court outcome will be coming soon, so I will be adding updates as they come to hand. In the meantime, let me offer more background.

Their lawyers had tried to argue that the debate over abortion is political and that

political communications about abortions are often at their most effective when they are engaged in at the place at which abortions are provided. It is no different in that respect to a communication on the ethics of animal rights, gay marriage, euthanasia or discrimination — once a mind is changed on the ethics, the politics will often follow. That a communication is unpopular or reflects a view held only by a minority does not deny it the protection of the freedom.

An article from the Australian last year also said this:

In their submission, they say: “Australian history is replete with examples of political communications being effective precisely because they are conducted at the place where the issue is viscerally felt.” There’s the Franklin Dam blockade, for example, and the Pine Gap protests, the Freedom Rides and the Eureka Stockade.

Clubb’s team acknowledges that her protest isn’t popular, and that too is important because the “very purpose of freedom” is to permit the expression of unpopular, minority view points. “In order to rouse, political speech must first excite,” the submission says. “Sir Robert Menzies’ ‘forgotten people’ speech, Paul Keating’s Redfern speech, Kevin Rudd’s apology … each was apt to cause discomfort not incidentally but deliberately.”

It will not be an easy case for Clubb to win. Australia has no proud free speech tradition. Four states and the commonwealth have already made submissions aimed at silencing her protest. But in her pocket Clubb has what she believes is a reason to keep going. It’s a short video, stored on her phone, of a child she describes as “the last baby we saved”.

“His parents are Nepalese, they hadn’t been in Australia very long,” she says. “They approached the clinic and I could see they didn’t want to do it.” She helped them away from the door, into a nearby carpark, where the mum-to-be, buckled by morning sickness, vomited. They explained their circumstances: he was working in a convenience store, earning not much money. She was newly arrived and now pregnant. They didn’t have stable accommodation. The GP had given them a pamphlet for the abortion clinic.

“I told them we could help,” says Clubb, and the groups with which she works stepped up with money for rent, doctor’s fees, a cot and a car seat. The child being carried in the womb that day is now a two-year-old. In the video, he’s bopping along to an Ed Sheeran song. “I believe we did God’s work that day,” says Clubb.
www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/inquirer/kathleen-clubb-defends-right-to-challenge-abortion/news-story/614b0a5a9593502d6d040f20606674fe

Yesterday a lengthy article appeared discussing this case. It offers further background information to this case, but it is highly biased and prejudiced, so read with care:
www.buzzfeed.com/ginarushton/kathy-clubb-high-court-abortion-safe-access

And a 5 minute video of Kathy and her case made before the ruling is found here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h4xg7SjHHE&t=1s&fbclid=IwAR2mdny7UYEuCEo9L_7XjFr5oUJYoWFaAzzE4wqbUglXYJuvkiDSWuVthMk

Kathy is of course just one of our heroes. Others have been willing to pay the price for standing up for the unborn. As mentioned, Graham Preston was also a part of this court case. He has spent plenty of time behind bars for this very reason. He too has been the subject of some of my articles, eg., billmuehlenberg.com/2014/03/04/stand-up-for-babies-you-will-be-arrested/

At the very least we need to pray for such superstars. And it is also so very important to join them in peaceful protests outside of the baby abattoirs, even if you need to stay 150 metres away – or be willing to pay the price for violating these unjust laws.

This is a very sad day for Kathy and Graham, for Australia, and for babies.

[1212 words]

25 Responses to High Court Rules In Favour Of Pro-Death Exclusion Zones

  • I feel genuinely sick. I am born of two parents who grew up in Nazi Germany and I’ve visited a number of the Holocaust/WW2 memorial sites in Germany, Poland, Netherlands and Israel. The parallels with the logic of excluding certain people from basic human rights is profound. Why do people do this? How can our lawmakers and legal systems be so blind to justice? How does one uphold the right to kill innocents?

    How terrible it is when a nation forgets God. We are tracking for disaster and if Jesus doesn’t return first, future generations will rightly condemn us as unspeakably evil.

  • Yes, it is a sad day for Kathy and Graham … in many more ways than one.

  • Australians like to say they are for the underdog. They like to champion the fella who is a battler and who big business or governments are giving a hard time. But that “underdog” has a voice. He/she can be heard because they were given the gift of life and the ability to speak up. Kathy, Graham and many others are the voice for the unborn who will never be heard. How many women who are post abortive say “I didn’t feel I had a choice??” Kathy, Graham and others are offering a choice to those who feel pressured to do what they don’t want to do. And now we silence them; we keep them away from the very people who are there to help. What a sickening and tragic day in the life of Australia.

  • The Australian High Court’s decision to muzzle advocates for the unborn is disgraceful.

    In your commentary above, Bill, you quote pro-life champion Kathy Clubb and her allies as offering practical help, including financial assistance, in a bid to dissuade pregnant women in difficult circumstances from aborting their babies.

    Only the most obtuse and bigoted of pro-abortion advocates could misrepresent this generosity as somehow being a “threat” to women’s autonomy and safety.

    Kathy Clubb, Graham Preston and their friends deserve gratitude, not persecution, for offering the sort of practical assistance that our shameful governments and High Court are trying strenuously to suppress.

  • It is not only a sad day for those two courageous fighters for truth and hope for the unborn, but it is a disgraceful attack on truth and social well being of society.

  • Regarding John Ballantyne’s comment above about Kathy Clubb and her allies giving financial help to women who would otherwise think abortion is the only practical solution to their dilemma…. that is what the saying, “Put your money where your mouth is,” is all about. It reveals a sincerity and true caring for the lady and the unborn child involved. No longer can it be taken as shaming or condemning, but rather, as a practical and true, heartfelt gesture of love for the people involved and act of obedience and honoring of God’s word.

    As for bubble zones in which free speech is banned, well, I’d like them to explain why, if what they believe is Truth, that what is within that lady’s womb is nothing more than the product of conception and not an actual child….why is another viewpoint so very threatening. Christian apologists have maintained for centuries that if the truth of Christianity is indeed the Truth, it will stand up to all other claims to the contrary. It seems to me they are just plain afraid of the Truth.

  • I am utterly disgusted and embarrassed to be Australian

  • In the last days good will be called evil and evil will be called good. Sad day for Australia!

  • This is very sad, but not unexpected.
    There’s no provision for freedom of speech in the Australian constitution.

  • Sickening especially when you consider that back in 2017, the High Court overturned Tasmania’s anti-protest laws at the instigation of Bob Brown over logging issues. What this means is that trees have more rights than unborn humans in the eyes of the court:
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-18/bob-brown-wins-high-court-challenge-to-protest-laws/9060834

    In the meantime, do what you can for South Australia.
    For non-residents of SA:
    https://www.austfamily.com.au/stop_extreme_abortion_laws_sa

    For SA residents:
    https://www.austfamily.com.au/stop_extreme_abortion_sa_email_mps

  • Thanks Bill. Yes we don’t have that proud tradition of freedom of speech in this nation, at least comparatively speaking. Australia has a convict past where the rule over us was often cruel and unjust. It takes great courage and sacrifice to stand and fight for our freedoms, and often we must stand alone to break down those chains that hold the rest of us back in silence. These two warriors have stood before a powerful dark force and refused to bow although it has cost them so much. Now may many more have the courage to stand and see this horror driven back in our nation. No sacrifice is in vain.

  • Here is a link to the High Court decision.
    http://eresources.hcourt.gov.au/downloadPdf/2019/HCA/11

  • The love and compassion that Kathy and others like her show towards mothers attending these centres is incredible. There is no shouting confrontation just a gentle offer of a life saving alternative. Anyone who says Kathy harasses people, is an ignorant liar who is happy to take up the leftist narrative with having even SEEN Kathy in person.
    It’s disgusting. People cry over goats and cows yet gloat and laugh with joy over the slaughter of a human child.

  • Fascinating that the same judicial system will punish farm terrorist invaders with a damp lettuce leaf and yet go hard after people who simply value life. Sad day for Oz.

  • Don’t be too quick to blame the High Court!

    Christopher Brohier, the barrister who represented them told me that they were arguing on the basis of implied freedom of political communication. I immediately thought that was a mistake.

    The implied freedom was established in Lange v ABC and refined in Theophanus v Herald and Weekly Times. It concerns defamation law not protests or free speech in general.
    Therefore, this is decision is not at all surprising, and the High Court had no choice but to reject the claim. The appeal strategy was wrong!

    I would have thought an appeal based on free movement would have been more successful–though the specific state and Commonwealth legislation would need to be explored to find the best point(s) of attack…

  • Thank you Bill for informing us of the High Courts decision, bewildering and unjust though it is. I will pray for Kathy and Graham and others who stand, stand and continue to stand.
    Mark Bryant

  • Kathy and Graham are true legends! God bless them.

  • Can anyone help?

    Is it true the Liberal Attorney General Mr Christian Porter (who says he’s a follower of Christ) submitted arguments saying Kathy Clubb and Graham Preston’s appeal should be dismissed?

    I would have expected this under Malcolm Turnbull but how can this happen on Scott Morrison’s watch? Doesn’t the Prime Minister have power to give orders to the Attorney General?

    Does this have something to do with the election coming up?

  • Hi Bill and others,
    The Federal Government were able to overturn the Northern Territory Euthanasia Bill in 2004 with “The Criminal Code Amendment (Suicide Related Material Offences) Bill 2004 was referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee. … The Bill requires that, in order for an offence to be made out, the accused must have an .intent. that the material incite suicide”
    Surely Murder comes under a similar or the same bill?
    It’s time the Federal Government got off their backsides and repealed all State Abortion Laws – it’s not right that States should have such sweeping powers!
    Also the Federal Government should Repeal the Victorian Euthanasia Bill and any other state that has passed a similar bill!
    Also while they are at it – repeal the SSM Bill!
    Could we get a delegation off to Canberra to Petition the Government to do the Repealing!
    Also – no Government should be given carte blanche to meddle with LIFE and Marriage e.g. those issues should be handled by REFERENDUM
    Shame on the High Court!
    Let’s Petition the Government!

  • Surely Articles 18 & 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights could have been put forward as an argument for the pair!

  • Dear Barbara,

    How is that going to happen when we have a Prime Minister who says this about the abortion debate:

    “I don’t find that debate one that tends to unite Australians and I certainly am not going to engage in the political elements of that discussion, because I frankly, I don’t think it is good for our country.”
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/scott-morrison-accuses-labor-of-politicising-abortions-20190306-p5122h.html

  • It’s critical we understand that in a godless society there is no law for life for the innocent and voiceless, no justice and no hope. However, it’s very, very important to know that 2- year-old toddler bopping to the music had the opportunity of life because he was purchased with the blood of Christ. From an earthly perspective, the cost is easily calculated thus- the cost of the original fine + the cost of the abomination of a ‘high’ court. Watch that video, which is merely the outcome of pro-life dancing around with joy. Now, I for one think given the baby was purchased out of godlessness the cost was remarkably cheap, after all, the little bopper shouldn’t have had limbs to move to the music, should he? The only question that remains to ask is, was he too expensive? Was the price paid worth paying? Seriously, the fact of the matter is that we will not get off our butts until it hits us in the pockets.

    The act of murdering an innocent child in its mother’s womb is an act of rape on her and an act of torturous murder on the baby, of course, this is necessary for godlessness and if you do not think it is, then, you have no comprehension of what godlessness is and that is why you sit on your hands.

    A fence went up around Auschwitz so the godless could do what the godless do. A 150-meter fence went up around the concentration camps in Australia, and no, the Nazis have not invaded your land, something much worse has, godlessness has. I am sorry to tell you that Kathy Clubb and Graham Preston saved what they were supposed to have saved, no more, no less. As for the ones they didn’t save, well they were what you were to have saved, it was Gods glorious gift to you. Sadly Gods timing was a little off, as you were busy sorting out those pesky Calvinists at the time.

    Murdering innocent babies and raping teen girls who were supposed to be tomorrow’s mothers. Destroying the family to such an extent that fatherless homes are the norm. Boys born beautifully made, being hacked and manipulated in such a way that laws have to be passed, so the truth of their abomination isn’t told to them. So is society going off the rails, no, it’s on the rails, it’s on the godlessness line? godlessness has existed throughout history, and yes we are as ‘good’ at it as the worst of them were.

    You have, over a long period had the warnings about the outbreak of godlessness, the alarms went off, and you even had the fire drill, sadly no one told you a fire drill isn’t the same as a fire. Now you find yourself on a tiny island in the middle of godlessness, and your neighbour has his little island too, one wonders why the neighbours live in such isolation, maybe they should consider joining together to make Christendom, maybe not though, as let’s face it godlessness does have its advantages, as sometimes God is just too demanding.

  • A BRIEF reminder about the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Act 2015(Vic) (“the Safe Access Zones Act”):
    1. offends all four of those fundamental human rights and freedoms This law is all about protecting the culture of death. That is what it is about. It is an attack on freedom of speech, and it is an attack on freedom of religion. This is an unethical and disgraceful “Law” in a most shameful period in Victoria’s history.
    2. In fact, in 20 years no Helper/Pro-lifer has ever been found guilty of any criminal offence outside an abortion centre. This is in spite of Pro-lifer and other members of the public actions being photographed, filmed, witnessed by security guards and members of the general public and MCC officers and police. In over 20 years of what proponents describe to Parliament as daily harassment, the abortion business has failed to provide a single piece of physical evidence to substantiate any claim. Ms Fiona Patten and Ms Jenny Mikakos misled Parliament by failing to mention the offensive and sometimes criminal behaviour of staff of the abortion business and by falsely implying that the Pro-lifers behaviour is criminal.
    3. Since there was no credible scientific evidence to justify this law then this law was created primarily for the Death Culture/Communist/Marxist Ideology with the catalyst/primary focus being acknowledged in parliament as the Fertility Control Clinic ABORTUARY in EAST MELBOURNE. It cannot be dismissed that this law can potentially benefit any ABORTUARY/Abortion clinics (small business).

    ….meanwhile the suffering of thousands of women, girls, families and the unborn in Victoria continues unabated….

    https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/daily-hansard/Council_2015/Council_Daily_Extract_Thursday_12_November_2015_from_Book_16.pdf
    https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/daily-hansard/Assembly_2015/Assembly_Daily_Extract_Thursday_12_November_2015_from_Book_16.pdf

  • What a terrible judgement. How could the High Court find Tasmania’s exclusion zones of 150m radius, legal, when they found Tasmania’s workplace exclusion zones illegal?

    Tasmanians can protest against cutting down trees, but not against cutting up babies.

    In Tasmania’s Mercury newspaper (April 11), State Political Reporter, Emily Baker, chose to smear Mr. Preston with the pejorative assertion that he was “waving placards”, even though this phrase does not occur in the Court’s judgement. She drew her information on his convictions in 2014 and 2015 from page 44, where the phrase is simply “holding placards”, so the misquote was done on purpose. Yet Miss Baker refused to tell readers what his placards said!

    It is surely a breach of international law to uphold Mr. Preston’s conviction for displaying a quotation from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Australia is a signatory.

    Ever since its first article on March 5, 2014, the Mercury has steadfastly refused to tell its readers what Mr. Preston’s signs said. They refuse to print any letter to the editor which points this out.

    In the same April 11 Mercury article, Federal Labor MP for Franlin, Julie Collins, gushed that the Court’s judgement is “fantastic news”…! Former Tasmanian health minister, Michelle O’Byrne, vowed to “continue the fight” for abortion.

    Yet a few years ago, when the High Court struck down the ACT’s same-sex marriage law, the Mercury‘s headline turned a loss into a possible future win with “Court ruling offers hope”. They could have used this same headline in this case, and quoted from Justice Gageler, for example from paragraph 174:–

    …the burden which the protest provision places on political communication is direct, substantial and discriminatory

    I’m surprised this challenge was only to the anti-protest provisions of the abortion laws, and not to the law allowing abortion itself. Surely the Australian government has a constitutional obligation to grant all Australians full legal protection, regardless of their age or location, which includes unborn children.

    As Bill has written in other articles, Mrs. Clubb is a mother of 13 children, and Mr. Preston has made a decision to live without assets. So, where did the money come from to mount this challenge? If the pro-life community has enough money to mount a High Court challenge, would it not be better spent on practical assistance to expectant mothers to help them keep their babies?

    Mr. Preston’s decision to live without assets, creates an obligation for the rest of the community to supply his needs, thus lessening their own ability to engage in pro-life activism.

    How can the police enforce this law, when they refuse to say where these “safe access zones” are? When asked for the location of the access zones, Inspector Glen Woolley of Tasmania Police Hobart Division writes (personal communication):–

    I am not in a position to provide you with this information.

    The Inspector referred me to the Health Department, but Health official Anita Morgan replied:–

    It is not the Department’s intention at this time to produce a map of Access Zones.

    Perhaps the Tasmanian government will now set up safe access zones of 150 metres’ radius around abattoirs, butchers and restaurants, where peaceful vegan protesters can be fined $11,550 and jailed for 12 months, too. Equality for all, yes?

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