Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Notes: Tuesday-Wednesday, December 7-8, 2010

1. "Fire wardens be alarmed - you could get burnt"

Until recently the Australian Standard for emergency evacuation procedures - the ''best practice'' guide for all Australian workplaces - contained an explicit exemption from liability for the wardens, as long as they ''acted in good faith''.

But under changes announced in the past two weeks, the exemption is gone, replaced by a warning that employers and building owners should seek legal advice about the level of indemnity their fire wardens face.

The warning also applies to the members of emergency procedure committees - those charged with making sure the different evacuation plans of companies in large office blocks are consistent.


2. "Bridle on outspoken charities was wrong"

A High Court decision last week provided a big win for charities, and another big loss for the Tax Commissioner. At issue was whether an organisation can retain its charitable status and tax benefits while engaging in political debate. The High Court held that it could. ...

3. A Supreme Court decision about which I had not heard

Peter Saul, a senior intensive care specialist at John Hunter Hospital and the director of the clinical unit in ethics and health law at the University of Newcastle, said doctors and administrators had been forced to focus on the rights of dying patients by a Supreme Court decision last year.

Justice Robert McDougall ruled a Jehovah's Witness's written refusal of a blood transfusion had to be honoured even after he became unconscious, and that any advance care directive must be respected if it was ''made by a capable adult, and clear and unambiguous''.

Dr Saul said doctors would now be on "unsafe ground if they completely ignored [a directive], leaving themselves open to a charge [they] assaulted the patient''.

[square-bracketed interpolations in the original,]

3. Prof. Hastings on Catholicism and Nazism

4. "Terra" on "[t]he collapse of religious life"

5. Some figures on American Catholics and use of contraception

Studies suggest Catholic couples who use natural family planning, as directed in 1968 by Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae, are in the vast minority. Estimates based on a 2006-2008 study by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that Catholic women were, essentially, just as likely as others to use some form of contraception, according to statistician William Mosher.

The nationwide estimate for women who use contraceptives was 61.9 percent overall, compared to 61.6 percent of women who identified themselves as Catholic. Based on the study, Mosher estimated that natural family planning is used by two out of 1,000 Catholic women in the country.


Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, A.D. 2010