Last ditch ad bid against eu­thana­sia laws

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - ANNA CALD­WELL, CLARISSA BYE & ROSE BREN­NAN

FIERCE op­po­nents of vol­un­tary eu­thana­sia will today launch an ad­ver­tis­ing blitz seiz­ing on the sup­port of po­lit­i­cal elders Paul Keat­ing and Tony Ab­bott in a fi­nal bid to block the bill in the NSW up­per house.

On the eve of to­mor­row’s vote, the No cam­paign — which is lag­ging be­hind in Par­lia­ment — has taken out ads quot­ing Mr Keat­ing, Mr Ab­bott and the Aus­tralian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion out­lin­ing their op­po­si­tion to as­sisted sui­cide.

The Daily Tele­graph ex­clu­sively re­vealed a week ago that the No cam­paign had fallen be­hind in the up­per house and was re­ly­ing on 18 votes — enough to be de­feated — push­ing the is­sue through to a cru­cial clash in the lower house next week.

Last night, it ap­peared the No camp had climbed to 19 votes. Ei­ther side needs 20 to win. The full-page ad de­clares: “The NSW Par­lia­ment should vote no.”

“Op­po­si­tion to this bill is not about re­li­gion, it is about the civil­i­sa­tion ethic that should be at the heart of our sec­u­lar so­ci­ety. It is a mis­take for leg­is­la­tors to act on the deeply held emo­tional con­cerns of many when that in­volves cross­ing a thresh­old that will af­fect the en­tire so­ci­ety in per­pe­tu­ity,” Mr Keat­ing is quoted as say­ing.

Mr Ab­bott ap­pears in the same ad, say­ing: “(As­sisted sui­cide) marks our de­scent into a coun­try which re­gards hu­man be­ings as dis­pos­able, and we don’t want any­one ever to be re­garded as use­less, worth­less or dis­pos­able.”

Mr Keat­ing also spoke out in the fi­nal days be­fore the vol­un­tary eu­thana­sia vote in Vic­to­ria in Oc­to­ber. That bill is likely to pass Par­lia­ment with amend­ments.

Na­tion­als MP Trevor Khan, who will in­tro­duce the bill, said while the Yes vote ap­peared to be ahead, he be­lieved it was an “hour by hour” prospect. If the bill passes, it will progress to the lower house next week.

There, too, the Yes vote is ahead. How­ever the sec­ond largest bloc of votes is the un­de­cided camp, mean­ing the re­sult could go ei­ther way.

Many Na­tion­als MPs have re­sorted to in­for­mal polling in their own elec­torates to guide their vote. Pre­mier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian and Op­po­si­tion Leader Luke Fo­ley both op­pose the bill.

Mr Ab­bott in the No camp.

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