Are Australians capable of civilised public debate?

Is it a general human thing or a specifically Australian thing that we have the greatest difficulty engaging in civilised public conversation about the issues that matter most to us? Perhaps it is a bit of both. Whatever the cause or causes, this past week has given us a stark example of our inability to have a civilised public conversation as NSW State Parliament attempts to make a decision concerning the legalisation of therapeutic cloning for stem cell research - Fr Michael Whelan