Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Debate on Euthanasia likely soon in Tasmania
Originally slated for October 2011, the long anticipated discussion paper flagged by Tasmanian Premier, Lara Giddings will soon be made public according to recent media reports.
One might be forgiven for making the assumption that a 'discussion paper' might be framed in such a way as to seek the opinions of Tasmanians and other stakeholders as to whether or not euthanasia & assisted suicide was good public policy or no. Apparently, according to one media report, that's not the case:
"Rather than seeking a discussion on whether or not we should introduce voluntary euthanasia, it will be encouraging discussion around how it should be done," said Greens Leader & Deputy Premier, Nick McKim.
Mr. McKim and Premier Giddings are making illegitimate assumptions about both the will of the people of Tasmania and their elected representatives. They also seem to have airbrushed from their memory the results of the 1998 Tasmanian Parliament's inquiry into this subject that gave a resounding NO to the proposition.
It is foolish in the extreme to expect those of us who oppose euthanasia & assisted suicide to give the government advice on 'how it should be done' - it shouldn't be done. Nevertheless, it still remains necessary that Tasmanians who oppose this legislation speak up in those terms and make submissions the the inquiry once the discussion paper is released.
Another media report at about the same time seemed to indicate that the new bill will include a residency requirement so that 'death tourism' doesn't occur. If euthanasia & assisted suicide is such a good idea, why limit it to Tasmanian residents only? During the short operation of the NT's Rights of the Terminally Ill Act, people travelled from around Australia to die. If this is about 'rights' (the entire premise of the idea of a so-called 'right-to-be-killed') how can it be limited to Tasmanians only?
We need to be really clear about this: The whole impetus behind this non-resident exclusion is purely and simply about dealing with a perceived roadblock to the passage of the bill. In a state where tourism is a big earner the idea of death tourism just doesn't work in the eyes of the public.
Nor does the idea of mobile death units. Recently the Dutch began to roll out Mobile Euthanasia teams to conduct home visits. They estimate their 'trade' to be up to 1000 deaths per year. As if on cue, just as Alex Schadenberg and I were working on campaigning and media work in Hobart, Philip Nitschke announced that his Euthanasia clinic idea would be extended to include a home delivery service.
The local pro-euthanasia group rejected Nitschke's earlier comments on a Euthanasia Clinic and, presumably, they're distancing themselves from the mobile service too. But Nitschke's correct: if we're agreeing that there's a right-to-be-killed, then why shouldn't housebound or otherwise immobile people have the same rights of access as anyone else?