Last ditch ad bid against euthanasia laws
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.