Catholics urged to op­pose new laws

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - MATT JOHN­STON and JAMES DOWL­ING

HUN­DREDS of thou­sands of Catholics will be asked to voice op­po­si­tion to pro­posed vol­un­tary eu­thana­sia laws in Vic­to­ria ahead of a State Par­lia­ment vote next week.

Priests have been asked to read out a mes­sage dur­ing week­end ser­vices say­ing it is “not safe” to al­low ter­mi­nally ill adults to re­quest lethal med­i­ca­tion within a year of their ex­pected death. But a new poll across three Lib­eral-held seats has found four in five vot­ers sup­port the doc­tor-as­sisted death.

News Corp has sur­veyed all state MPs about their vot­ing in­ten­tion, with three more Cab­i­net min­is­ters — Robin Scott, Martin Fo­ley, and Jenny Mikakos — declar­ing they sup­port the Bill.

Only two min­is­ters, Deputy Pre­mier James Mer­lino and Gam­ing Min­is­ter Mar­lene Kairouz, have pub­licly op­posed the Gov­ern­ment’s push.

Gipp­s­land South Na­tional Danny O’Brien, will vote against the scheme but Bentleigh La­bor MP Nick Staikos has de­clared sup­port.

A group of MPs yet to re­veal their in­ten­tions will de­cide the Bill’s fate. The new polling of 3000 vot­ers across the Lib­eral seats of Bayswa­ter, Gem­brook and Hawthorn, found four in five peo­ple sup­port doc­tors be­ing able to give ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients lethal med­i­ca­tion.

The sur­vey also sug­gests MPs in those seats — shadow min­is­ters Heidi Vic­to­ria, Brad Bat­tin, and John Pe­sutto — would gain votes if they back the scheme. Mr Bat­tin said his con­sul­ta­tions showed sup­port for the Bill was “very high” and he would vote in favour.

An anti-eu­thana­sia group’s polling in six mar­ginal seats shows about two thirds of vot­ers sup­port vol­un­tary eu­thana­sia, but this dropped to 51 per cent when ques­tions in­cluded “pal­lia­tive care is a vi­able al­ter­na­tive”.

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