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Euthanasia ‘off the table’ in Victorian Parliament – for now

by | May 20, 2015

By Paul Russell, Founder, HOPE Australia

Editor’s note. MLCs refers to Members of the Legislative Council, the upper house of the Victorian Parliament.

Paul Russell, director of HOPE.

Paul Russell, director of HOPE.

Since the recent Victorian State [Australia] elections it has been clear that there existed a strong and sustained push towards euthanasia that would, sooner than later, see their Upper House debating the issue.

Never far from the surface, this time the push was coming from competing interests within the Greens Party and from a newly-elected independent.

The Labor Government had closed ranks to oppose one such motion. But with the prospect of the issue continuing to cloud the agenda, the government took charge.

It has been many years since an inquiry of this nature – not relating to a specific euthanasia bill, but looking at associated issues generally – has been considered by any Australian Parliament. As the President of the chamber and other MLCs noted, this will be a very large inquiry requiring significant resources. The report date of May 31, 2016, would seem to be quite ambitious.

So, what are we to think about this motion? There is a degree of cynicism that would suggest that the government is perhaps wanting to be rid of a controversial issue from the chamber so as to get on with other matters.

I make no judgement on that but simply observe that, even in that respect, the dismissal of the constant uncertainty about the various other motions and potential for euthanasia legislation at any time has now been put aside until mid-2016 at the earliest.

But more than that, such a broad reference enables a full consideration of end-of-life issues and how real dignity and choice is enabled by quality care being available to all; not just an option to be made dead by euthanasia for an elitist few.

This is a great opportunity to promote good care instead of killing. We have always said that the longer and more detailed the inquiry, the better chance that the voices of reason prevail. …

Editor’s note. This appeared at noeuthanasia.org.au.

Categories: Euthanasia