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Commonwealth funds "assasinate the Pope" messages

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Media Keiease Dr Bob Woods Shadow Minister for Health


Commonwealth funding for a magazine which advocates "assasinate the Pope, "steal goods from your boss and give them to your friends" and "pour sugar in the petrol tanks of expensive cars" should be urgently withdrawn and an immediate investigation launched into the other extremist, anarchist activities of

the organisation which produces it, Federal Shadow Minister for Health Dr Bob Woods said today.

" It is absolutely outrageous that taxpayers funds are being spent on "Catalyst", a magazine produced by Student Initiatives in Community Health (SICH), which advocates anarchy and criminal activities " said Dr Woods.

For this financial year SICH received $195,300 in funding from tho Department of Health Housing and Community Services under the Community Organisations Support Program (COSP).

"Ostensibly, SICH is funded because of its role in providing university students with information to make informed decisions to support good health practices " said Dr Woods.

"In reality however, it is clear SICH is a front for a radical left wing political organisation to incite impressionable university students to anarchy and criminal and unsociable behaviour.

By its own admission SICH is a political organisation as indicated on page 2 of "Catalyst" when it says " SICH's focus is on radical social change community involvement in health and education and in politicising health issues." Clearly taxpayers funds should not be used for a political organisation .

In addition to the senseless suggestions already listed above it also suggests readers should

" occupy their buildings, squat, encourage dissent, take up arms, strike, picket, deface billboards at every opportunity, learn how to use guns,

b u m flags. talk to each other during exams. deliver bogus neighbourhood watch leaflets announcing a national 6 pm


curfew. load up trollies in supermarkets with unsound goods (especially frozen ones) and leave them there. move into your vice chancellor's holiday house.

create havoc. rise up. seize power.”

This is not a temporary aberration. SICH has been embroiled in controversy about the content of its magazine before. In a previous issue SICH encouraged male and female students to supplement their incomes by becoming prostitutes and even went so far as to provide a case study of a student called "Gareth" and

how the income helped him.

At th at time Minister Brian Howe expressed total confidence in SICH and the magazine saying " my department does not have editorial control over the contents of the publication nor is it appropriate th at it should.... the work of SICH is valuable is appropriate for the Commonwealth to assist such

organisations in their aims ".

Minister Howe's apparent upholding of the principal of freedom of speech ignores the unw ritten responsibility that he has as a Minister of the Crown to ensure th a t taxpayers funds are not being spent in a frivolous or inappropriate manner to produce material which offends public morality.

Does the Minister agree th at any statements encouraging students to "assasinate the Pope" are both offensive and socially irresponsible?

If Minister Howe fails to act immediately to stop funding for this journal it will prove th a t he has not only lost control of his department but th at he has lost touch with w hat the real health needs of Australians are.

Combined with his recent failure to convince his parliamentary colleagues of his vision for reform and his humiliating backdown over the copayment for medical services it does not bode well for the future of health care under the

Keating/Labor Government."


24th February 1991

CONTACT DR WOODS ON 06 2774661//2/3CW) OR 06 295 1800(H) OR LEISA O'CONNOR 02 745 3200(W) OR 02 797 6233(H)