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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 1995) . . Page.. 1320 ..


The second point is this: We all know about polls, do we not? We talk about polls which show who will get elected to this place. The only poll that counts is the one that is held on election day, when either you get elected or you do not. You can do opinion polling up to election day and get all sorts of answers. I would suspect that in this case the only poll that counts is the one which asks the patient in the bed who is perhaps terminally ill and who is suffering pain. Then you would get the real answer; and it might not be the same 75 per cent as Mr Moore and the people who conducted this poll got on this occasion. I am very wary - just as I am wary about political polls - about this kind of poll. Who is to say, for example, that the person has no chance of recovery? Mr Moore's Bill seeks:

to protect the right of patients who are terminally ill to request assistance from a health professional to terminate the patient's life.

They are his words. In another place, under “Direction to terminate life”, it states:

A person who -

(a) is of sound mind;

(b) has attained the age of 18 years;

(c) has been informed by a health professional that he or she is suffering from a terminal illness and is likely to die within the next 12 months as a result of that illness;

... ... ...

Which practitioner is going to say that with certainty? How many of us know people who years ago were given three months, six months or 12 months to live and are still around, healthy and recovered from their condition at the time? But, no, Mr Moore says that if they are in that situation they can issue a direction and the medical practitioner, by and large, on the face of Mr Moore's Bill, is supposed to carry it out, unless he or she seeks to find somebody else to be the executioner on Mr Moore's behalf.

I am not persuaded by this. There is no ground swell of public opinion asking for it. Nothing has changed since Mr Moore tried to push this issue through this Assembly only a matter of months ago. Here it is again. The Liberal Party has made it clear that it will not support active euthanasia; but Mr Moore comes back and pushes it again. I have to say, Mr Speaker, that I am concerned that Mr Moore keeps continuing to push this issue, which, in my opinion, is a dead horse. I do not think that he will get the support of this Assembly to put it into effect. He certainly will not get mine. If the public is going to take Mr Moore's Medical Treatment (Amendment) Bill exposure draft and think about what they want this Assembly to do with it, they have an obligation to think of both sides of the argument; not only the one put forward by Mr Moore. They need to know that there are a lot of people in this Assembly in particular who do not support it. In fact, I suspect that a majority do not support it.


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