The Victorian Government has accepted a cross-party committee’s recommendation to legalise assisted dying and looks set to hold a conscience vote on the issue next year.
Dear Bob Carr
I write following comments reportedly by you, claiming that legalising voluntary euthanasia could make it harder for doctors to help suffering patients to die. Also that, quote “Can we guard against the prospect of the approving physician of being so nervous of litigation they might be more reluctant, not less reluctant.”
He’s the progressive premier whose track record speaks volumes: legalising same-sex adoption; decriminalising medicinal cannabis; making abortion clinics safer for women – and that’s barely even scratching the surface.
But Daniel Andrews is about to face what could arguably be his most divisive social policy challenge yet: giving terminally ill people the option to choose the timing and manner of their death.
Given that for most people voluntary assisted dying is eminently sensible, it is still surprisingly difficult to have a reasoned debate about end-of-life choices.
At the World Federation Conference held in Amsterdam in May this year Dying with Dignity ACT Inc. president compared the ACT Crimes Act legislation with the ACT Human Rights Act legislation to show that the Crimes Act legislation discriminates against those people who wish to die. While it is legal to end one’s own life, the law forces people who wish to make this legal choice into hanging, gassing, drowning themselves as well as retaining the discriminatory language associated with the choice by continuing to call their choice ‘suicide’ and them ‘suicides’.
She has proposed that we need new language to discuss the choice to die. She proposes to call this choice an Elective Death and outlines in the speech following how it would work in practice to make a choice for death that would alleviate the suffering of those who make this choice and those who are forced to endure the long slow process of dying that is forced on us all by the law because politicians refuse to consider any alternative.
As a result of advances in public health and the development of lifesaving medical technology, Australians live longer than ever. Unfortunately the care received near the end of life often does not reflect a person’s values, goals and preferences. Although the majority of Australians say they would prefer to die…