The independent member for the state seat of Fisher, Bob Such MP is full of surprises. Having been around the parliament for quite a while, including a stint as Speaker of the House, he knows all the tricks there are.
His latest shenanigan, today, saw him introduce yet another euthanasia bill while his earlier bill, introduced in February this year, remains on the notice paper awaiting debate. Strange that only a few weeks ago he was pressing his colleagues to allow time for that bill to be debated because, as of today, only two sitting days remain this year and in this parliament.
Although Such claims that this new push is 'a significantly modified bill', closer examination shows that it suffers from much of the same flaws as the earlier model. The changes are largely cosmetic. He said in February, when introducing the Ending Life with Dignity Bill (Mark 1) that it was 'as tight as possible so there can be no abuse'. Why then the need for this new bill?
In June 2012, at the close of debate on yet-an-earlier Such bill, he said, "If palliative care is working, then I do not believe you need prematurely to end a life. You have to be in the final phase of a terminal illness." But Marks 1 & 2 of this year's offerings don't restrict access to the terminal phase at all. Has Such had a change of heart or is this more about a sales pitch? In speeches on all three bills he has claimed that the law would only be used by 'about a dozen people a year'. That simply can't be right in respect to all three because the last two broaden the definition beyond the 'terminal phase' of a 'terminal illness'.
This bill, like it's existing cousin, allows for euthanasia and assisted suicide and both are considered as 'medical treatment'. The term 'medical treatment' brings to mind actions or interventions that are beneficial, or at least benign; that bring healing and/or relief. Framing killing or assisting in killing as 'medical treatment' is really nothing more than a soft-sell - it's like a snake-oil salesman on speed!
One would normally expect a newly-minted bill at this stage in the parliamentary cycle to be adjourned to 'the back-of-the-queue'. After all, there are plenty of other bills whose sponsors have been waiting their turn and some bills that have already passed through the other debating chamber and are so close to becoming law. Somehow, however, this new bill is listed second on the Notice Paper for the 14th of November.
Such seems to have no mind for others in this cynical exercise. His kill bill Mark 1 would most certainly not have been resolved in this parliament given its position on the ballot paper, but it is no orphan. One wonders what other MPs think of this move and, indeed, what if they all played this game.
There's clearly more to this stunt than meets the eye and Such has surely yet to play his last card. Regardless, this bill cannot become law. With but two days remaining, it would need to pass completely through both houses in that time. Even Bob Such can't make that a reality.