Mercury (Hobart)

The right to ask for re­lease


- CARE: As­sisted dy­ing in fo­cus. Antony Ault Rose Bay Ed SIan­ski West Moonah Phillip Turn­bull Cor­nelian Bay Miles C. Pit­man Dover Ike Naqvi Tin­der­box Mark Mif­sud Good­wood Chris Davey Lind­is­farne Mark Bar­wick Clare­mont

AS a GP who has been ac­tive in pal­lia­tive care for three decades, I be­lieve that the ter­mi­nally ill per­son with in­tractable pain and suf­fer­ing has the right to ask for, and re­ceive, ac­tive as­sis­tance to die. To deny a dy­ing, suf­fer­ing per­son this right is piti­less. The re­ac­tion to the Vic­to­rian Lower House pass­ing the Vol­un­tary As­sisted Dy­ing Bill is ex­tra­or­di­nary. For­mer prime min­is­ters Paul Keat­ing and Tony Ab­bott and Aus­tralian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Michael Gan­non cas­ti­gate the de­ci­sion. Their ar­gu­ment, largely that of the “slip­pery slope”, is greatly over­stated. After sev­eral decades of leg­is­lated dy­ing in var­i­ous over­seas ju­ris­dic­tions there is no ev­i­dence of sig­nif­i­cant mal­prac­tice. Fur­ther­more, the cur­rent leg­is­la­tion has par­tic­u­larly good safe­guards and has been sup­ported by the Royal Aus­tralian Col­lege of Gen­eral Prac­ti­tion­ers. For a doc­tor to pro­vide a gen­tle sup­port­ive re­lease from an­guish is in ac­cor­dance with the con­tem­po­rary Physi­cian’s Oath, World Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion. A pro­gres­sive, hu­mane so­ci­ety has much to gain from vol­un­tary as­sisted dy­ing leg­is­la­tion. cal pro­fes­sion, that life has no more mean­ing or would in­volve in­creased suf­fer­ing, un­less agree­ing to a eu­thanised death. It could lead to a lesser em­pha­sis on pal­lia­tive care, sav­ing the state money at the ex­pense of its most vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens. My prayer is that the Vic­to­rian Up­per House throws out the Bill and none of the other states in­tro­duce sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion. We al­ready have a Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment seek­ing to save at the ex­pense of our most vul­ner­a­ble through cut­ting wel­fare and re­duc­ing funds for hos­pi­tals and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. Wouldn’t it be bet­ter to im­prove pal­lia­tive care and leave the tim­ing of our death in the hands of a wise and lov­ing God?


AS­SIST­ING peo­ple to die is not mercy killing. It would be un­eth­i­cal for a doc­tor to be in­volved in such an op­er­a­tion and this would com­pro­mise the po­si­tion held by health pro­fes­sion­als ded­i­cated to the preser­va­tion and de­fence of life. Like cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, it is a fi­nal so­lu­tion and it A new way to have your say the­mer­ read­ers have a new way to have their say. It’s free to use, just reg­is­ter and have your say. For more de­tails and to reg­is­ter, visit the web­site. is in­evitable mis­takes will be made. There are many ex­am­ples of peo­ple who ini­tially asked that their life be ended only to be thank­ful later they were still alive. Well­funded and com­pas­sion­ate pal­lia­tive care is the best di­rec­tion for those who are ter­mi­nally ill, along with gen­uine sup­port for their fam­i­lies.

Mat­ter of trust

IF Vic­to­ria’s Up­per House passes the Vol­un­tary As­sisted Dy­ing Bill, and the flowon oc­curs in other states, I will never trust a hospital or a doc­tor in the same way for the rest of my life. I stopped trust­ing or ad­mir­ing politi­cians, the me­dia, our de­fence bu­reau­crats and the po­lice decades ago. This has come about be­cause we have largely aban­doned our Jewish-Chris­tian her­itage and be­liefs.


SOME politi­cians are lin­ing up to op­pose the coura­geous at­tempt to al­low self eu­thana­sia. This is not a the­o­ret­i­cal, philo­soph­i­cal ex­er­cise in a uni­ver­sity class­room. Go spend a week, or even a day, with a pal­lia­tive care team tasked with keep­ing a per­son dy­ing of any of sev­eral ter­ri­ble dis­eases as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble, when they have no hope, no dig­nity and can only count on leav­ing a huge med­i­cal bill to their fam­ily, and then see how easy it is climb back to the moral high ground you seem to live on.

Lob­by­ist changes needed

I AGREE with Jacqui Lam­bie that rules for lob­by­ing in Par­lia­ment need a com­plete over­haul (Talk­ing Point, Oc­to­ber 27). Surely it is in­ap­pro­pri­ate “for a min­is­ter to hold pub­lic of­fice — and with that, pub­lic trust — then go off and sell the of­fice keys”. It should never hap­pen again.

Don’t follow Trump

HOW could any­body put a mo­tion of no-con­fi­dence in our gov­ern­ment? Mainly be­cause we are al­ways lis­ten­ing to Don­ald Trump. Trump will have the Amer­i­can peo­ple on their knees in no time.

Has to be re­ally big

“A BIG­GER boat fit for King” ( Mer­cury, Oc­to­ber 26) is great news for all stake­hold­ers but a big­ger boat must be a ship with all the ca­pa­bil­i­ties and tech­ni­cal de­sign to with­stand all the fe­roc­i­ties Bass Strait can throw at her.

Limit pop­u­la­tion growth

THERE is a pub­lic fo­rum on Novem­ber 25-26 on the iden­tity and fu­ture of Ho­bart. The ca­pac­ity is 250 peo­ple. With hous­ing, roads and health ser­vices un­der stress, why don’t we set a limit on pop­u­la­tion like venues set at­ten­dance. In­fi­nite growth is not pos­si­ble, but why do we pre­tend it is?

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