The right to ask for release
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 themercury.com.au 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?