Australia Catholic Bishop Blasts Taxing Families With Additional Children

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 17, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 17,

Canberra, Australia ( — A Catholic leader in Australia is blasting an idea that has taken hold there that families who have more than two children should face additional taxes. A university professor originally floated the idea in December by suggesting couples should pay a $5,000 tax for supposedly hurting the environment.

Associate Professor Barry Walters, a professor of obstetric medicine at the University of Western Australia, says the taxes would help offset the supposed problem of overpopulation.

He published the idea in the Medical Journal of Australia and said parents of every child born should also pay an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child. That would cover the supposed cost per year that people cause by harming the planet.

Catholic Archbishop of Sydney George Pell criticized the idea on Thursday and blasted the Australian Medical Association for publishing Walters’ letter.

"I am not sure what is more extraordinary, that an obstetrician could hold such a view or that a leading medical journal could publish such a view," he said, according to a report in The Australian.

"But either way, this is a striking illustration of where a minority neo-pagan, anti-human mentality, wants to take us," he added.

The newspaper reported that people should be alarmed at such radical proposals.

"The moral and social ecology of the earth also calls for urgent attention," he said. "If we have learned anything from the atrocities of the last century, it is that wide-scale attacks upon human life and dignity stem from reductive understandings of the human person."

Instead of worrying about families that have multiple children, Cardinal Pell says Walters and his supporters should be concerned about the sex-selection abortions that frequently take places in nations like China and India.

But Walters suggests that Australia’s government should scrap the tax rewards parents get for having a child and, instead, imposed a one-child only rule that China uses.

That coercive family planning policy has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations as well as prison time and loss of jobs and homes for those who don’t comply. It has also led to a skewed male-female ratio that is causing a myriad of social concerns.

Australian Family Association spokeswoman Angela Conway condemned Walters at the time of his letter saying babies don’t cause global warming.

"I think self-important professors with silly ideas should have to pay carbon tax for all the hot air they create," she said. "There’s masses of evidence to say that child-rich families have much lower resource consumption per head than other styles of households."