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Gun Control
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Americans are faced with an ever-growing problem of violence. Our streets have become a battleground where the elderly are beaten for their social security checks, where terrified women are viciously attacked and raped, where teen-age gangsters shoot it out for a patch of turf to sell their illegal drugs, and where innocent children are caught daily in the crossfire of drive-by shootings. We cannot ignore the damage that these criminals are doing to our society, and we must take actions to stop these horrors. However, the effort by some misguided individuals to eliminate the legal ownership of firearms does not...
people who respect the law itself, the people who would only use firearms for legal purposes anyway. And when we give people the right to defend themselves, we find that criminals start looking for other victims out of fear that they will become the victims themselves. We must work to reduce crime in America, but we should look at the problem realistically, and develop plans that would be effective. It is obvious that gun control laws are neither realistic, nor effective in reducing crime. Therefore, we must direct our efforts toward controlling crime, not controlling legal ownership of firearms.
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The Constitution of Australia is a...The Constitution of Australia is a written document, which came into effect when the six colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. It consists of eight chapters and 128 sections and lays down a set of laws or restraints by which the Federal Government must operate. It establishes the composition, procedures, functions, and powers of government, government authorities, such as the Governor General and other essential institutions. The Constitution is the basic framework for a civilised and well-governed Australia. However in the recent past, reason for parliamentary and federal concern has been thrust into the limelight. In addition, there has been a growing need for judicial interpretation and the ever-present reliance on convention. The Australian Constitution has several primary features. Such aspects include the preamble and covering clauses; Chapter one which establishes the Federal Parliament and the respective roles of each house; the Federal Executive Council and provisions for the Governor General are outlined in Chapter 2; Chapter 3 covers the Judiciary and establishes the role of the High Court; in Chapters 4 through 7 other issues of the constitution are founded, particularly those pertaining to the economy; and Constitutional change in outlined in Chapter 8. The preamble is an introductory statement that outlines the sources of authority and the mission, objectives and scope of the constitution. Chapter one states that Federal parliament shall consist of the Queen, the Senate and the House of Representatives sect 1. The Senate is designed to act as a States house, while the House of Representatives performs as the Peoples House. Exclusive and residual powers are fore grounded and the procedure for overcoming conflict between the two houses is also outlined. Chapter 2 focuses primarily on the Federal Executive wing of government and the Governor General. Executive power is vested in the Governor General as the Head of State; there is no mention of the executive role of the Prime Minister. The composition and procedures of the Federal Executive Council are founded in this chapter also. The Judiciary are the chief concern of Chapter 3. In this the role and foundation of the High Court is inaugurated, as well as issues surrounding appeals to the Privy Council, dealt with. Chapters 4 through 7 are written in regard to the Australian economy and trading, preservation of the states and conditions by which a new state may be started. Chapter 8, the final chapter, describes the process by which the constitution may be changed. Despite the Constitution's role as the structure of Australian political procedure and indeed the very fabric of Australian society, in the past there have been reasons for federal and parliamentary concern. The growing number of Federal powers and the diminishing number of states powers, is of immense concern to the state parliaments. A great many Commonwealth powers, under section 51, are concurrent with those of the states, and it is by this that the Commonwealth has been able to extend its control. Section 109 states that if Commonwealth legislation conflicts with state legislation, the Commonwealth immediately takes precedence, thus encroaching on what was once state political territory. In recent years there has also been growing concern over the role and powers of the Senate. Under section 53 the Senate is not able to introduce or amend money or taxation legislation, these powers reside in the H of Reps alone. In all other aspects the Senate is on equal terms with the H of Reps. However the Senate can simply reject, defer or refuse to pass money bills. The implications of this are massive, without the Supply Bills, there is no money for government or the Public Service. The powers of the governor general have also caused some unease. In effect the constitution give the G-G the power to be government. The man/woman has the power to dissolve government, is the commander and chief of the armed forces, appoint members of the Federal Executive Council, appoint senior government officials, assent and with hold assent on legislation and appoint Justices of the High Court. Section 90 gives the Commonwealth government exclusive control over the collection of customs and excise. The controversy surrounding section 90 is concerned not so much with the power it gives the Commonwealth government but instead the restrictions it places on the state governments. The limited number of rights of the individual is of concern to the government as well as all Australian citizens. As citizens, we have only three constitutional rights and rely heavily on implied rights. There has been discussion as to whether a Bill of Rights should be included, much like that of the United States. Written Constitutions, such as the Australian one, are supplemented by conventions that help shape the formal operation of politics. Conventions are rules, not laws, and thus cannot be formally enforced. In Australia many of the common conventions have been adopted from the British Westminster system. A key and vital convention to the running of this country, is that of responsible government. This implies the basic rules of politics, such as the supremacy of parliament, the executive government must enjoy the majority in the lower house of parliament and the Head of State acts on the Prime Ministers advice. Conventionally the G-G does not exercise his powers, this to is also of extreme importance, for if he/she chose to disregard these conventions he/she could essentially be government dictator. Another convention concerns casual vacancies sect 15 where by people of the same party and faction should be sent to replace a dead or resigned senator. The Senate is also meant to pass all money bills without delay, however this too is only a convention. While conventions are vital to the running of the Australian political system, they do cause concern. An example of where conventions were being blatantly disregarded and a crisis occurred was in 1975. In 1974 the Liberal opposition refused to pass the supply bills in the senate, to counter-act this Whitlam requested a double dissolution. The ALP won the general election, with only one seat short of a majority in the Senate. However this situation changed in 1975 when two ALP vacancies occurred in the Senate. Rather than follow convention and send two ALP members to replace them, two Liberal-voting independents were sent. During 1975 there was a scandal surrounding the 'Loans Affair', which led to the dismissal of Cairns and Connor. Seeing that public opinion polls were favouring the opposition Liberal, Malcolm Fraser advised that the Senate defer the Supply Bill until a General Election was called. Whitlam refused, believing that some of the opposition would cross the floor. However on the 11th of November the Governor General dismissed the Gough Whitlam and appointed Malcolm Fraser as caretaker PM. Upon this the supply bills were immediately passed and a general election called. It was a landslide victory to the Coalition. Many conventions were broken in 1975. Supply bills should be passed in the senate unless faulty; the G-G acts on the advice of the PM; replacement senators should come from the same party; the PM should call a general election if the supply bill is not passed; and the PM should have the confidence of the majority of the H of Reps. Australia's heavy reliance on convention can lead to crisis as it did in 1975, this is a cause for concern in today's politics. The difficulty in changing the constitution is also of concern. To change the constitution 50% of the population must vote yes to the question put to them and then four of the six states must also say yes. This is the only method of change. Thus in order to change something, without as much difficulty, there has been growing popularity in the use of judicial interpretation. By "re-interpreting" the constitution it can become more applicable to today's society and thus serve the population of Australia better. While the constitution has served the people of Australia well in the past, it does have certain faults and by all means needs amending in some areas. Additions regarding such subjects, as Internet censorship and individuals rights would vastly improve this document, as well make it more applicable to the 21st Century. Amending undefined areas of "grey" would also diminish some of the confusion surrounding the Australian Constitution. As Sir Robert Menzies once said: "The Constitution is the organic law"¦it ought, in my mind, be expressed in language which is clear, simple and comprehensive."   

The Constitution of Australia is a written document, which came into effect when the six colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. It consists of eight chapters and 128 sections and lays down a set of laws or restraints by which the Federal Government must operate. It...

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Living Wills, sometimes called Advanced Directives,...Living Wills, sometimes called Advanced Directives, are legal documents accepted in all 50 states. They clearly define a person's wish to decline life-support or medical treatment in certain circumstances, usually when death is imminent. Generally, a living will takes effect when a person becomes terminally ill, permanently unconscious or conscious with irreversible brain damage. A living will also allows a person to state with particularity the forms of treatment are wanted and not wanted. For example, if a one does not want artificial life support, then sign the living will stating that desire. It is also important to discuss your beliefs and wishes with you family, spouse and other people whose opinions you respect, such as clergy, physicians, attorney or an accountant. Living wills are recognized in every state, but each state has different requirements. If someone is interested in making a living will, contact an expert in the state that you live in, such as a hospital, local agency on aging or local bar association. To help ensure that the living will be honored, give copies to family members, physicians, lawyer and other involved in caring for the person's welfare. Federal law now requires most health care facilities hospitals, nursing homes, HMOs and home health agencies to ask patients if they have a living will or would like to complete one. Can Medical Care Legally Be Stopped If There Is NO Living Will? When there is no written document, a spouse or close family member may still request that treatment be withheld if the patient cannot do so, but the request could be denied. The way states and health care providers handle such cases varies widely. Typically, a doctor or hospital representative will meet with a person's family to discuss what that person's wishes were. In some cases a health care facility may want to withhold or provide life support against a family's wishes. In some cases a formal hearing may be held to determine how to proceed. How To Make A Living Will The rules for preparing a living will vary from state. Some states require that the document be signed with the same formalities required for execution of a will, but many state recognize the effectiveness of more informal declarations. Generally a living will: Should Be in Writing. Should Be Signed and Dated. Should Be Signed Voluntarily Should State Specific Treatments It is evidence of the patient's wish, and it is the patient's wish that has legal force, not the document. Living wills cannot request euthanasia or unreasonable treatment. Living wills, once activated, should ensure that your physician and the medical facility uphold your health care treatment beliefs and wishes. Your family or your physician cannot revoke them; your living will can only be revoked orally by you or by court acting on your behalf. With a living will, you maintain control over your end-of-life decisions. If your wishes are explicitly stated in your living will, your doctor and your family should not be able to supersede them. As long as your wishes are known, they should be respected. Limitations to the Power of a Living Will Remember that living wills only become active when the patient becomes terminally ill "“ when death is imminent and the patient can no longer communicate his/her wishes to their physician, spouse, or family. Living will DO NOT become active immediately after you sign them. It is important that one discuss their feelings about health care options with their physicians. Many doctors are not yet comfortable with the idea of living wills so they may be hesitant to encourage their patients to consider the alternatives options and issues surrounding living wills and health care options. In addition, the legality of living wills is still being challenged in about 25 percent of all cases, decisions are made -"“ by family or physician "“ that are contrary to the patient's wishes as stated in their living will i.e. the court determined that the patient's death was not imminent, therefore, the constraints and treatment preferences stated in the living will were not yet activated. However, living wills are preferences stated in the living wills are gaining legal power in the eyes of the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the constitutionality of honoring a refusal of treatment and stressed the difference between types of end-of-life decisions and physician-assisted suicide. The living will can be written or oral. It must not have been made under pressure or coercion. The person must have been competent of that time to make the decisions involved. This is presumed unless there is evidence to the contrary. Note: a person may have a mental illness and still make a valid living will as long as they understood the implications of what they were doing. Competency means competent to make the decisions in question, not necessarily competent to make other decisions such as, relating to financial affairs. If the living will applies exactly to the circumstances that subsequently arise, health care professionals must follow it. If it does not apply exactly, by describes a general wish, then the health care team should consider it among other evidence of what the patient would wish. Relatives may also be able to supply information on the patient's wishes. Having gathered all the information, a health care decision should be made on the basis of the patient's best interests with due regard to their wishes, as well as these can be determined. Writing Your Own Living Will When signing a Living Will make sure that a statement is enclosed specifying your "WISHES" about the extraordionary measures to be taken to keep you alive if you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill. Make sure you express your beliefs fully and as explicitly as possible. It is strongly recommended but not essential that you consult an attorney when writing a living will. Your attorney will best be able to help you develop your health care preferences and beliefs into a document that clearly states your wishes. If you do not have an attorney and still plan to write your own living will, consider obtaining a copy of a living will form from your state health department, local hospital, local Area Agency on Aging, or physician. You can use the living will form as a guide to help you think about and formulate your ideas concerning your preferences. When developing your living will, you need to think about possible treatments that you may or may not wish to receive under various conditions. Some treatments you may wish to withdraw only in certain circumstances, others you may always wish to receive. Your living will should clearly state how you feel about receiving certain types of treatment in various health-care situations. Some of the options are explained below: DNR "“ "Do Not Resuscitate" order DNR simply states that if you are deemed by a physician to be terminally ill, you do not wish to receive cardio-pulmonary resuscitation CPR if your heart stops beating or you stop breathing. You feel that CPR will be futile or will serve to only prolong your life. Surgery "“ If you become terminally ill, you may not wish to have surgery, es-pecially if that surgery is elective or if it life-prolonging in the case of imminent death. For example, a terminal cancer patient may not wish to have minor surgery, such as a tonsillectomy if they have tonsillitis. If you are writing your own will, you may want to make your wishes regarding surgery case specific, you have the ability to state what YOU want. Pain Medication. A living will should address the types of medication you wish to have administered and under what circumstances. Respirators "“ Respirators are a means of artificial respiration for patients who cannot breathe on their own.. If you disagree with the means or "artificial" medical treatments, these should be address in the living will.   

Living Wills, sometimes called Advanced Directives, are legal documents accepted in all 50 states. They clearly define a person's wish to decline life-support or medical treatment in certain circumstances, usually when death is imminent. Generally, a living will takes effect when a person becomes terminally ill, permanently unconscious or conscious...

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