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 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?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia